Berkeley-Haas Claims Most Innovative MBA Team

Competing for $20,000 and bragging rights as “America’s most innovative MBA team,” a group of five full-time, first-year Berkeley MBA students clinched the title in the finals of the eighth annual Innovation Challenge on Friday.

The Berkeley MBA team, Haastile Takeover, consisted of Rahul Bijor, Blake Holland, Brandon Piper, Nancy Unsworth, and Scott Van Brunt, all MBA 12. Haastile Takeover emerged victorious from an original field of more than 100 teams from more than 50 business schools. The competition, conducted completely online, challenged students to innovate in one of three categories: business model innovation, social innovation, and marketing and product development.

Haastile Takeover competed in business model innovation, developing a proposal for attracting Generation Y consumers to Jiffy Lube. "Our proposal was titled ‘In Tune by Jiffy Lube’ and involved creating an online vehicle maintenance management portal for car owners," says Holland. For the finals, the team presented their proposal and responded to questions from judges that included MBA innovation lecturers and innovation leaders from major corporations.

The team credits the Haas School’s new Problem Finding, Problem Solving class as a factor in its success, Holland says. “The course gave us a great set of tools to brainstorm and ideate in the early going of the project,” says Holland. “We also feel our best strength versus the competition was the depth of our solution and the rigor we applied to the challenge. This strength is a function of all our course work and group work so far.”

Berkeley-Haas was well-represented in the competition: With four teams making it as far as the semifinals, Haas was the only school to have more than one team represented.

Says Holland, "We are thrilled to have represented well all the Haas teams that competed, and encourage others to participate in the spring competition. We had a great time working together and learned a lot from the feedback we received."