Winning Approaches: Innovation Challenge Semi-finals


The Competition: The Innovation Challenge, a global business innovation competition.

The Team: Evening and weekend MBA students Sathishkumar Balasubramanian, Winnie Phua, Denise Toy, and Shisher Wahie, all MBA 13.

The Outcome: Emerging from a field of 178 teams to be among the top 15 overall and top 5 in the strategy and business model category.

The Challenge: Generating ways for AT&T to better connect its cloud-hosting services with mobility applications and services to meet the needs of small businesses.

The Winning Approach: "We definitely used brainstorming techniques amassed from the PFPS class, so had a broad range of solutions from which we ultimately picked our unique solution," says Phua.

Defining Principles at Work: "We received positive feedback from judges and organizers on our innovation and presentation skills and the general display of confidence without attitude," Phua says.

Fitting it all in: Since team members work full-time and attend school on Saturdays, that left Sundays--and much of Thanksgiving weekend to devote to the Challenge.

Fuel of Choice: Breakfast muffins and sandwich dinners from Panera Bread. Entertainment provided by Chief Morale Officer Sadie the Maltese.

Demonstrated Competition Prowess 2011-12: Innovation, education, management of organizations, marketing, entrepreneurship, and real estate.

  1. First-place: MIT EdTech Competition, Babson SF Rocket Pitch Competition
  2. Second-place: UT Austin Real Estate Challenge, Vanderbilt Human Capital Case Competition, Babson SF Rocket Pitch
  3. Third-place: Carlson Elite Eight Brand Management Case Competition
  4. Semi-finals: Global Innovation Challenge

About The Author

From 2011-2013, Valerie Gilbert focused on sharing stories of Berkeley MBA student achievements and connection to the Haas Defining Principles. At Haas since 2004 and now Associate Director of Content Marketing, she still enjoys revealing the different facets of life at Berkeley-Haas to a variety of audiences.