Georgia State case competition team

With diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) taking center stage for many organizations in how they recruit, manage and retain their talent, their actions in this space often speak louder than any words or mission statements.

A longstanding partnership between Fisher and KeyBank is proof of the power that DEI-focused programming can have on today’s students and tomorrow’s business leaders. Over the past year, the college proudly partnered with KeyBank to continue to offer two key programs for undergraduate and graduate business students.

The 2022 KeyBank Foundation Minority MBA Student Case Competition

In all, the 2022 KeyBank Foundation Minority MBA Student Case Competition connected 25 teams of graduate students from colleges and universities across the country. The virtual event, directed and administered by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services and Corporate and Community Outreach (ODISSCCO) at Fisher, engages first-year graduate students in a business case. Competitors hone their business acumen and team-building skills while learning from KeyBank executives.

David Harrison headshot
David Harrison

Georgia State University (pictured above) took home first place and a $10,000 prize, while the University of Tennessee and Howard University finished second and third, respectively.

"The quality of the ideas and recommendations presented by the teams continue to impress the judges and our sponsor," said David Harrison, senior director of ODISSCCO. "Our competition is the real deal.  For the second year in a row, two HBCU Schools finished within our top-five finalists."

"The best and brightest students attending the best MBA programs in the United States attend our competition each year. From the north, south, east and west the teams represented top-tier scholastic excellence."

The 18th annual case competition focused on an environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) challenge and drew praise from participants:

  • "It was a great opportunity to have hands-on experience on ESG issues and to be able to learn more about KeyBank."
  • "I learned so much about ESG as a whole and what a salient aspect of a company it is."

The competition, created in 2005 by KeyBank and Fisher, attracts 25 to 30 teams each year from some of the nation’s leading institutions. In total, 86 universities and more than 1,190 MBA and business graduate students from across the U.S. have participated in the competition since 2005.

"Key continually endeavors to create shared value with every stakeholder we serve," said Jennifer Eastes, director of ESG at KeyBank. "Our purpose is to help our clients, our colleagues and our communities thrive. Increasingly, environmental, social and governance (ESG) is the lens through which a company’s ability to create shared value is evaluated. The elements of ESG are present in nearly every aspect of business and often overlap. Many investors, raters, policy makers, and other stakeholders believe that strong ESG performance has a positive correlation with overall corporate performance."

The 2022 KeyBank Leadership and Creativity Undergraduate Student Symposium

The 14th annual KeyBank Leadership and Creativity Undergraduate Student Symposium, held virtually in November 2021, connected undergraduate students at schools from across the country for a three-day intensive camp on leadership, creativity, product innovation, spreadsheet management, entrepreneurial thinking, persuasive communication and the art of negotiation.

In all, 44 undergraduate students representing 18 institutions participated in the symposium. Included in the attendees were 24 female students and seven individuals from HBCUs, the most ever for the event.

"Diversity pays dividends," Harrison said. "Data from the Society of Human Resource Management and McKinsey Consulting shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to out-perform non-gender diverse companies. That number grows to 35% when looking at ethnic diversity."

Shalyn Foster headshot
Shalyn Foster

In addition to creating, connecting and equipping a cohort of diverse undergraduate students for success, the annual symposium is an opportunity to showcase Fisher’s strengths to students interested in pursuing a graduate business degree. Shalyn Foster enrolled in the Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM) program after attending the symposium as an undergraduate student at Ohio University, where she studied health services administration.

"Participating in the symposium as a senior in 2020 honestly put business school on my radar," she said. "I was both surprised and honored to be recommended to apply for the MHRM program because I didn't think I was a business student, even though my coursework did include many introductory business courses. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and make connections with such a prestigious school."

Foster returned to the symposium in 2021, serving as one of the its coordinators, where she recruited students to explore attending the symposium, maintained connections with partnering schools and provided support to the symposium’s many speakers.

"When I found out my assignment for my graduate assistant position would be for the KeyBank programs, I was so excited," she said. "Being able to bring that program to other undergraduate students meant everything to me. I still talk to one of the symposium participants and am aiding her in her decision on pursuing graduate school and deciding on programs — at Ohio State, of course! Serving the symposium again as a mentor is the best value I could have ever received from the program."

The symposium first kicked off on October 30, 2008, and thanks to continued partnership and funding provided by the KeyBank Foundation, 628 students representing 93 universities have participated in the symposium.

Serving the symposium again as a mentor is the best value I could have ever received from the program.

Shalyn FosterCoordinator, KeyBank Leadership and Creativity Undergraduate Symposium