School of Business team receives honorable mention in Hult Prize Competition

3.31.2014 Article, Entrepreneurship, General, Global, Innovation, School News

First year Wake Forest MBA team takes on 42 top business school teams in regional finals

A team of first year Full-Time MBA students from Wake Forest University School of Business has received an honorable mention in the fifth annual Hult Prize competition. The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good.

Team members Hunter Chism, Karn Malik, Torin Martinez, Allison Sanders and Arjun Som Sekhar competed against 42 teams from top business schools, such as Dartmouth, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT and Yale in the regional finals in Boston on March 8. They presented their innovative start up idea to an executive jury made up of regional CEOs, nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs for the chance to win $1 million in funding.

“Every member of our team is passionate about social entrepreneurship,” said Torin Martinez, a first-year MBA. “We hope to contribute our business acumen to purpose-driven causes. As future business leaders, we plan to support the triple bottom line of social equity, environmental stewardship, and economic prosperity.”

The team pitched a business that would merge big data analytics with mobile technology in the developing world to provide health education to those most at-risk. The organization would collect individual data, run it through a health probability algorithm and then send out personalized health texts seeking change.

“With more data in the long term, we believe this could lead to finding new cures, disease trends, area trends and real time epidemic outbreak information,” said Arjun Som Sekhar, one of the team members.

He added that while the team is not moving on in the competition, they are grateful for the support of Assistant Professor of Economics Adam Hyde and Vice Dean and Professor of Management Charles Iacovou, who served as faculty advisors.

The Hult Prize is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship which brings together the brightest college and university students from around the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues.  Former President Bill Clinton challenged the students to address non-communicable diseases in urban slums for the 2014 challenge. Winners of the six regional challenges receive a one-year membership to the Clinton Global Initiative and an opportunity to spend the summer at the Hult Prize Accelerator.

More than 10,000 teams submitted applications from more than 350 colleges and universities in more than 150 countries to be part of the 2014 competition.