March 12, 2009

UCLA Anderson Hosts Net Impact Consulting Challenge, Project GRAD Earns $2,500 Top Prize

Teams provided recommendations to nonprofit organizations throughout Los Angeles

By Roey Gilberg

UCLA Anderson hosted the Net Impact Consulting Challenge (NICC) on Saturday, March 2, as Anderson students made their final presentations to competition judges. For the event, teams of Anderson students, both full-time and fully-employed MBAs, provided recommendations to various nonprofit organizations throughout Los Angeles, analyzing issues specific to each organization.

The process began February 17, when twelve teams of five to six students met their nonprofits for the first time. Over the next two weeks, the teams familiarized themselves with their respective nonprofits and the particular issues they wanted addressed, and prepared presentations in which they proposed their solutions to of a panel of ten judges.

The twelve teams were narrowed down to three finalists, and after another round of presentations, a team working with Project Grad LA, an organization which seeks to assist underprivileged Los Angeles communities with early college outreach, were declared the winners of the $2,500 first prize. Project GRAD LA team members are Joe Ziomek ('10), Madeline Dewey ('10), Leaat Dulberg ('10), Teddy Ho ('10), Sam Kang ('10) and Anuradha Kumar ('10). In a unified showing of support, the first place team donated $600 dollars of their prize to Project Grad LA; also the second place team donated $375 to A Community of Friends while the third place team donated $275 to its charity The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. The donations represent about 25 percent of the prize winnings.

The NICC was started four years ago by Anderson alumnus Julie Lacouture ('06), who served as one of the judges this year. "That first year, there were only five or six nonprofits," says Jenny Trucano ('09), one of three student directors of this year's competition. The event serves as a great way for students interested in being involved in the nonprofit space to gain hands-on experience, as well as to network.

In addition to the growing number of students taking part, organizers are also noticing an increase in the overall caliber of the event. "The complexity of the issues, the sophistication of the client agencies, and the quality of the analyses and presentations were marked improvements over prior years," says Professor Kevin McCardle, Senior Associate Dean of the MBA program.

The members of second place A Community of Friends were Jaime Sipila ('09), John Uysal ('10), Santiago Gil Ramirez ('10) and Nishit Sawhney ('10). Third place Los Angeles County Bicycle team members were Doron Gavra ('10), Daidipya Patwa, Kristen Perry ('10), Elizabeth Moore ('10) and Christian Schmelebeck ('10).

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the very best business schools in the world. UCLA Anderson faculty are ranked #1 in "Intellectual Capital" by BusinessWeek and are renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,700 students enrolled in MBA, Executive MBA, Fully-Employed MBA and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs. Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a world-wide network of 35,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops and prepares global leaders.

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Media Relations