The school has won three awards at this year’s EFMD celebration.

IMD is pleased to have won in the Indian management, sustainability and supply chain categories. It also achieved runner-up positions in the area of digital.

EFMD (European Foundation for Management development) is a global, not-for-profit, membership-driven organisation dedicated to management development worldwide. This year’s case-writing competition, which happens annually, saw an international judging panel review some 550 cases in 17 management-related categories.

The awards’ purpose is to reward innovation, seeking out the most impactful case writing and teaching. Winners of the various categories each receive 2,000 euros.

From online furniture to a smoke-free world

“Pepperfry.com: Turning the tables on disruption”, written by Professor Amit M. Joshi and Ivy Buche, won the award for Indian Management Issues and Opportunities. Pepperfry is an online furniture start-up that changed the face of an age-old industry in India within just six years.

Professor Joshi said, “The excitement of sharing Pepperfry’s journey with executives never gets old. I know from my ongoing conversations with participants that the learnings leave a long-lasting impression.”

Buche added: “The field research in developing the case was an insightful experience. It is an honor to win this EFMD award.”

The Responsible Leadership category, sponsored by University of San Diego – School of Business Administration, saw Professor Vanina Farber and Head of Sustainability Natalia Olynec take the top prize for their case “PMI’s Vision of a Smoke-Free Future: Can a Tobacco Company be Sustainable?”

Commenting, Professor Farber said: “We chose this topic because it is an emotive one. Students were extremely focused and engaged throughout. Since the topic is quite controversial, nearly all of them already have an initial bias towards the case objectives. We play with that strength of belief, to challenge them to consider all points of view.”

They found that the difference in student approaches was often dictated by whether students saw sustainability as mitigating negative impacts or focussed on its regenerative meaning; in this context, that came down to how having a “good” product matters.

Professor Farber draws parallels between the strengths of the case and geo-political discussions that are on the table now, as we construct our post-COVID-19 economies. She says that the role of business in building a sustainable, greener and more inclusive economy is highly topical and she stresses how the case presents an opportunity to debate what sustainability and responsible leadership truly constitute.

Indeed EFMD’s President, Eric Cornuel, also referenced the current climate stating in an official statement on the awards, “Now, more than ever, heuristic and impactful research will pave the way towards economic recovery.”

Digital recognition

When it came to acknowledging excellence in the area of supply chain management, the number one prize, sponsored by Coventry Business School, was given to Professor Ralf W. Seifert and Dr Richard Markoff. Dr Markoff worked in supply chain management for L’Oréal for 22 years.

The authors say that their case, “Workshop: Building an Industry 4.0 Transformation Roadmap”, is “a workshop exercise built with SmarterChains, an Industry 4.0 enterprise intelligence platform.”

The case functions as a complement to a class session on Industry 4.0, which they explain is a difficult subject to teach as it comprises dozens of technologies that are evolving rapidly. Also, instances of their use can be difficult to grasp immediately, hence the importance of concrete examples.

Seifert and Markoff concluded: “Industry 4.0 can be a complex, daunting subject, but with the participation of SmarterChains, IMD has found a way to render it tangible and accessible.”

In addition, two IMD cases were placed as equal runners up in the Hidden Champions category, both of them exploring digital strategy. They delved into two companies, respectively: Bossard, a global specialist for high-quality screwsfasteners, logistics systems and application engineering, and Faurecia, a world leader in automotive technology.

Behind “Bossard Fasteners (a): Fighting B2B Commoditization” and “Bossard Fasteners (b): Developing a Digital Strategy by Refusing a Digital Transformation” is Professor Stefan Michel, an expert in B2B pricing strategy and marketing management with eight books to his name.

Four authors pulled together to produce the three cases that developed from “Faurecia Digital Transformation” (an A, B and C case). Writing alongside Amit Kumar Singh, Yanik Cantieni and Marco Amici was Professor Cordon, who commented:

"The case about Faurecia uncovered an amazing digitalisation of the factory as it uncovered unexpected benefits and led the factory back to profitability. It is a discovery expedition to the future of manufacturing."

IMD also sponsored two awards: Women in Business and Inclusive Business Models.

EFMD is recognised globally as an accreditation body for business schools, business school programmes, and corporate universities and currently operates in 91 countries worldwide.