MSM SDG-Challenge finals: creating SDG-solutions for business partners


MSM’s full-time MBA and Master in Management students participated in the yearly Soapbox SDG-Challenge. The mission of the MSM SDG-Challenge was to inspire and mobilize students and companies to work together on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Teams of students teamed up with leading companies to work together on these SDG-Challenges. MSM was glad to have the Municipality of Maastricht, Sappi, Royal Mosa and Swapfiets on board.

“We wanted our students not only to learn about the SDGs through their MBA/MM curriculum but also to experience how important SDGs can be in real-life, in real companies  with real challenges. The SDG-Challenge was the perfect opportunity for MSM to help our students get this "real" experience, and help give back to our community at the same time...a win-win.”  This said Hermina Kooyman, Manager Enrollment and Career Services, after the MSM SDG-Challenge finals, which took place on 6 December 2019.

To prepare the student teams for the finals a ‘sprint day’ was organized during which the student consultant teams worked together with the business partner. For this, the organization of the SDG Challenge developed a special "pressure-cooker", so that the teams would come up with tangible and actionable ideas that will contribute to the SDGs. “The sprint day was an exceptional experience for our team. Solving an actual SDG-Challenge for a real company was truly amazing,” according MBA student Mohamed Galal.

Municipality of Maastricht
The student team working on the SDG-Challenge of the Municipality of Maastricht had to come up with ideas on how the SDGs can get a more active role in the policy and decision making processes. In 2018, the municipality started to apply SDG practices but internally there is not yet enough awareness about the SDGs.

Royal Mosa.
During the (re)construction of buildings, lots of tiles are not used/thrown away while they can get a second life. The student team working together with Mosa had to answer the question: How can Mosa activate its customers to take responsibility in taking back the (not) used tiles to Mosa.

The student team who partnered with Sappi answered the question: How can Sappi improve the engagement and motivation of Sappi employees to create a sustainable working environment?

Swapfiets receives a lot of old bike materials that are currently treated as waste. The Swapfiets SDG-Challenge answered the question: How can Swapfiets add value to these old materials?

During the finals at MSM all teams presented their solutions in front of the jury. The team with the biggest potential impact on the company (profit & people), the sector (people & planet) and society (people & planet) was declared the winner. It was not easy for the jury to name only one winner as they were very impressed by all the solutions presented. In the end Team Sappi was announced the winner.

Yme Quispel from Soapbox, organizer of the SDG-Challenge, valued all the solutions the students presented during the finals. “It was really great to see how the teams, consisting of different backgrounds and cultures, came up with their solutions. The students acted as exemplary sustainability consultants and contributed to the sustainability of the company with their fresh perspective.”

In April 2020 a team of MSM MBA and Master in Management students will also represent MSM at the National SDG-Challenge. In total, fifteen teams of fifteen Dutch universities team up with a leading company to work together on a SDG-Challenge.

Related news
MSM students, alumni and staff #act4SDGs in Maastricht

Embracing the Sustainable Development Goals – A project contributing to gender equality

Embracing the Sustainable Development Goals – A Master thesis on circular music festivals

Celebrating the European Sustainable Development Week 2019