Organized jointly with the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance


ESG engagement can have a large impact. For example, research suggests that persuading firms to cut carbon emissions in line with best practice could limit global warming to 2°C.[1] Moreover, successful ESG engagement can boost investment returns by 4 to 5%.[2] By contrast, funding ethical or green firms (the more traditional ESG strategy) has limited real-world impact.[3] By persuading firms to change, MBA students can deliver tremendous impact –while unlocking financial value.


Teams will use Arvella Investment’s award-winning Engagement Maximizer. It allows selecting a firm and identifying one key ESG issue whose improvement could deliver outsized impact while unlocking financial value. Teams will build a full case for implementing change. They will suggest actionable solutions, learning from competitors’ best practices (something the Engagement Maximizer can help identify). They will explain how their suggested solution would boost profits. Extra points will be awarded for teams that engage companies and try to persuade them to act.


Any MBA, Master (MSc, MiM, MA) or PhD student. They must be currently enrolled full- or part-time. Each team will consist of up to five members.


The winning team will choose to donate $5,000 to the CDP or the Empowerment & Opportunity Fund of Gates Philanthropy Partners. Both charities have a proven track record of making a significant positive difference in the world. CDP is a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. The Empowerment & Opportunity Fund of Gates Philanthropy Partners aims to give an equal chance to girls and women to learn, lead, earn and thrive.


140+ Participating MBA students
35 Case studies submitted
27 MBA programs
11 Countries worldwide
5 Esteemed jury members
5000$ to be donated

Cambridge vs. Yale: watch our ESG Engagement MBA Challenge Final live!

Register now!

2:30PM (CET) / 8:30AM (EST)


  • Learn about real-world ESG
  • Grow your ability to make a compelling business case for improving ESG
  • Promote sustainability by encouraging firms to adopt the best-in-class ESG practices
  • Increase your school’s reputation by competing against top institutions
  • Donate prize money ($5,000) to the charity of your choice*



To register to the Challenge, please send the Registration Form (available here) to
If you have any questions, please send us an email at


General Questions:

Students from Masters (MSc, MS, MIM) and PhD programs are welcome to register for the Challenge.
The PowerPoint presentations from the two finalist teams of the 2023 edition are available on our website at:
Certificates of Participation will be granted upon request.
Unfortunately, we cannot help you find team members. We accept teams of one
No. There is no registration fee. In addition, the finalist presentations will be held via videoconference call.
Yes. You can leverage any resources available to your team.
Yes, we can sign an NDA if required by your target company.
We will not conduct training sessions on how to use the Engagement Maximizer tool. You should refer to the Technical Appendix and “How to use the Engagement Maximizer” sections at the bottom of the website page dedicated to the Engagement Maximizer.

You might also refer to the following training webinar conducted upon the launch of our tool. Part of the video discusses the Engagement Maximizer.

Access to the Engagement Maximizer:

Once we receive the registration form (to be sent at, the team lead will receive a confirmation email, along with the rules of the challenge (also available on the website). In a separate email, the team lead will receive login credentials. You will receive only one login per team. Once logged in, students will find some instructions on how to use the tool on the website itself. Please note that the platform is quite user-friendly, and we do not conduct training sessions.
Only the team lead will receive login credentials by email. Please check your spam. If you are still unable to find the email, please contact us at:

Materials to be submitted for Round 1 (‘Case Study’):

You must submit a PowerPoint presentation. Please send the presentation in both PowerPoint and PDF format.
There is no slides limit. Yet, you may keep in mind that if selected for Round 2, you are expected to present your content in about 25 mins.

Selection of the target company, ESG variable and peers:

You should pick a company that is available on the Engagement Maximizer.
Our dataset covers 2546 firms from the MSCI All Country World Index (MSCI ACWI) and the STOXX Europe 600 (STOXX 600). The dataset does not include companies classified in the financials sector.

You should select a variable for which the potential increase in shareholder value associated with adopting peers’ best practices is elevated.

Please note that ESG issues are sector specific. Hence, some ESG variables are only relevant in a few sectors. For example, water usage is only relevant for the energy and materials sectors. Health & Safety is only relevant for consumer stapples, consumer discretionary, industrials, materials, utilities, and real estate. When an ESG variable is not relevant for a specific company (because of its sector classification), a 0% will appear on the graph.

Our Carbon Emissions variable only covers scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. Hence, you should not work on this variable if you select a company operating in an industry where scope 3 emissions account for the majority of emissions (e.g., energy, utilities, etc.). A company’s Scope 3 carbon emissions include everything beyond its direct operations and electricity use, including supply-chain operations and end-product usage by customers.
No. You should pick one of the 13 ESG variables available on the Engagement Maximizer.
Yes. Companies might have started to address specific ESG issues. Yet, they might still be lagging their peers and might not have implemented all the appropriate solutions.
Some companies do not report data on certain variables. Rather than displaying missing data, we use a proxy. The proxy is flagged by an asterisk. The proxy corresponds to the average gain across peers. We define “Peers” as firms in the same sector (GICS level 1) and region; or in the same industry (GICS level 2) globally.

Our tool allows identifying peers with best practices. Analyzing these peers can point companies to actionable solutions. To identify peers, select underneath the graph the ESG variable you are interested in assessing and click on your preferred scope: sector & region or industry globally.

Some “peers” will be more relevant than others for each firm. Investors should therefore use the “peers” list as a menu to select from. In other words, qualitative analysis should be used to select the most relevant peers for your target company. Best peers will operate in the same industry and have similar business activities: they will compete with your target company with similar product/services categories.

Yes. The Engagement Maximizer helps you identify peers that have better practices than your target company. Yet, not all the peers suggested by the tool would be truly comparable to your target company. Hence, using qualitative analysis is essential. You can select a peer that is outside the scope of the database if you deem that it is a relevant peer and that it has better ESG practices than your target company.

Engagement with the target company:

We are conscious that a successful engagement with a company is extremely difficult to achieve. It takes time and the right contacts within the organization.

Hence, we will award extra points for teams who tried to engage. We will value the originality of their engagement, the materials (if any) they have provided to the company, and any possible outcomes (responses from the firm, calls set up, etc.).


[1] Mercereau, Neveux, Sertã, Marechal and Tonolo “Fighting climate change as a global equity investor”, The Journal of Asset Management, February 2020.
[2] Dimson, Elroy, Oğuzhan Karakaş, and Xi Li. 2015. “Active Ownership.”; Dimson, Elroy and Karakaş, Oğuzhan and Li, Xi. 2019. “Coordinated Engagements”.
[3] Berk and van Binsbergen, “The Impact of Impact Investing,” mimeo, Stanford U. and U. of Pennsylvania, June 2022.
*The winning team will choose to donate money to one of the following organizations: CDP or Gates Philanthropy Partners (Empowerment & Opportunity fund).