UMass Boston

UMass Business Students Make Top Three in Annual $50K Sustainability Case Competition

12/11/2023| College of Management

The 2nd annual Questrom $50K Sustainability Case Competition was a success! More than 70 teams from 24 universities from the East coast participated. UMass Boston was one of the three finalist teams alongside Boston University and American University. Congratulations to Boston University who took first place. 

Sustainability Case Competition CM

Every year, the $50K Sustainability Case Competition challenges teams with two cases. For the first case study, teams had to produce a strategy to quantify and communicate the monetary value of upcycling for California company Rewilder. The second case study tasked the team with producing a strategy using circularity that would help L.L.Bean improve its environmental footprint and attract new customers.

Five dedicated College of Management students developed innovative ways for L.L. Bean to increase and improve their sustainability efforts. The team was co-lead by Dhruv Naik and Walter Valdivieso, both of whom participated last year. Thanks to faculty recommendations they were joined by Venkata Sai Sudharshan Baswa, Emma (Yuxiao) Xing (邢宇潇), and Damon Borgia.  

With mentorship from Benyamin Lichtenstein, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management at UMass Boston, the team made their pitch to three panels of corporate professionals and venture capitalists. The team responded effectively to judges’ questions, and kept improving their concepts all the way to the finals.

In 2022, the team didn’t proceed past the first round, but Dhruv and Walter were convinced they could get to the finals. “When they approached me this year I was supportive, but I honestly did not think they could get so far given the stiff competition,” said Professor Benyamin Lichtenstein. “Working on their own, outside of class, they came up with a marvelous and insightful pitch.  I couldn’t be more proud.” 

Finalist Yuxiao Xing representing UMass Boston said, “It was not only an enriching experience delving into real-world sustainability challenges but also a journey I personally have always wanted to embark on to contribute my part to environmental preservation.”  

Professor Benyamin Lichtenstein plans to support the team through a consultation with L.L.Bean, and the implementation of one or more of their concepts. Overall, this accomplishment speaks to the growth of the College of Management, its increasing reputation, as well as the vibrancy of Entrepreneurship at UMass Boston.  

Congratulations again to the UMass Boston College of Management team finalists.


As Boston's only public accredited business school, the College of Management is dedicated to educating the region’s next generation of business and community leaders. Recognized for its first-rate faculty and diverse, high-achieving student body, the College offers exceptional learning experiences in collaboration with local businesses. For more information, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn.