The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » News » MBA News » Emory Goizueta Business School Announces Winners of 2024 John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition

Emory Goizueta Business School Announces Winners of 2024 John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition

Image for Emory Goizueta Business School Announces Winners of 2024 John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition

The winners of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School’s fourth annual John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition, held on February 23, have been announced. The competition gives students from universities nationwide the opportunity to present innovative and, most importantly, actionable ideas to companies about addressing racial injustice in their organizations and industries. 

Lynne Segall, associate dean for management practice initiatives and the competition’s faculty advisor noted, “The conversation around racial justice has shifted significantly since 2020 and yet the structural issues persist, making the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition as relevant as ever.” 

Winning teams split the prize money with the racial justice organization of their choice. Segall notes, “This was the first year we have hosted the semifinals in person, allowing us to bring together a larger group of change leaders. This allowed for greater engagement between the students and the sponsors, which I hope will lead to longer-term relationships and connections. Every team gave their sponsor something to think about and act on.” 

Preliminary applications increased 25% since last year and the top 15 teams represented 13 universities, including Emory University, Duke University, Columbia University, Cornell University, University of Virginia, Georgia Institute of Technology, George Washington University, Carnegie Mellon University, Rice University, Washington University, Boston University and the University of Rochester.

The top prize went to Rice University’s Team Prosperity Without Prejudice: Dzidefo Ababio, Damieanus Ochola, Talor Thompson, and Dominique Wilson, all from the MBA Class of 2025. They are sharing their winnings with Operation Hope.

The winning Rice University team with Jerrick Lewis; Representatives of First Step Staffing; Maya Dantzler

Georgia Tech’s Diversity Defenders won the $7,000 second-place prize. Pranav Batchu, BSCS ‘25, Turner Davis, BSBA ‘27, Victor Huang, BSBA ‘27, and Druvitha Lokasani, BSIE ‘26, are sharing their prize with Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The $3,000 third place prize went to the University of Virginia’s The Social Innovation Group, whose members Jillian (Jill) Howland, MBA ‘25, Luis Otero, MBA ‘25, Austin Paul Roye, MBA ‘25, and Zuhayr Shaikh, MBA/MD ‘25, are splitting their winnings with HoPe: The Hispanic Organization Promoting Education.

Maya Danzler

Maya Dantzler, Goizueta MBA ‘24 and managing director of the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition, comments, “This year’s case competition was a truly remarkable experience. It was both intimate and impactful, bringing together a diverse group of students from various backgrounds, from engineering undergraduates to executive MBA physicians, all united in our shared mission to advance racial justice and equity. What made this year particularly special was the presence and participation of Congressman John R. Lewis’s family, underscoring the profound legacy of his commitment to social justice. Many students expressed that this year’s competition provided them with far more than they had anticipated, leaving them feeling inspired and committed to taking more meaningful action to advance racial justice in their communities and beyond.”

Jerrick Lewis, nephew of John R. Lewis and executive director of the John R. Lewis Legacy Institute, presented the awards. “This is what my uncle wanted,” said Lewis. “This is what he meant when he talked about getting into good and necessary trouble.”

This year, the event was hosted by The Gathering Spot in Atlanta, a “next-generation” club and event space focused on collaboration and community diversity. More than 120 attended in person, while 350 joined the livestream. In addition to the awards presentation, the day-long summit includes discussion panels bringing together faculty with business and community to delve into initiatives and insights on achieving a more equitable future. Sponsors of the event this year were Delta Air Lines, First Step Staffing, and Taco Bell.

The summit panels featured Gregory C. Ellison II, Ph.D., founder of Fearless Dialogues, Dane Mathews, chief digital officer of Taco Bell, and Omar Rodríguez-Vilá, marketing professor at Goizueta Business School, discussing strategies for ensuring lasting inclusion in business; Ashley Black, the managing director of equity strategies with Delta Air Lines, Kellie Brownlow, chief mission officer of First Step Staffing, KT Thornton, chief equity, inclusion, and belonging officer at Taco Bell, and moderator Wes Longhofer, associate professor of organization and management on Prioritizing Racial Equity; and Sara Prince, senior partner at McKinsey & Company, in a talk titled Insights to Actions: Meaningful steps for a better tomorrow.

In his closing remarks, John H. Harland Dean Gareth James stated, “The John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition is such a wonderful example of what we at Goizueta are called to do. We aim to bring insights to business to drive it forward, engage students in experiential learning, and build a better, more inclusive society. Business has immense power, influence, and resources—and because of this, we can drive real change.”

The competition and racial justice summit honors the legacy of the late Congressman John R. Lewis. Serving as a platform for business students and business leaders to collaborate on ideas and work toward the goal of racial equity, the competition has engaged over a thousand students from almost 100 schools and generated over $125,000 in grants to racial and economic justice nonprofits since its inception four years ago. 

“I recommend MBA students apply for this experience,” Dantzler adds, “because it offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with real organizations committed to advancing racial equity. This competition serves as more than just an academic exercise; it is a platform for personal and professional growth, fostering a deep understanding of the intersectionality between business acumen and social responsibility. Having participated myself during my first year of business school, I found it to be a transformative experience that bridged classroom learning with real-world application. It’s a win-win opportunity to make a lasting impact while honing leadership abilities and fostering meaningful connections.”

See more here.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.