Media Releases

Students from IIT’s Institute of Design win Rotman Business Design Challenge

March 23, 2015

TORONTO, ON — Stu­dents from the lead­ing design and busi­ness schools in North Amer­i­ca gath­ered at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Rot­man School of Man­age­ment on March 7 and 8 for the annu­al Rot­man Busi­ness Design Chal­lenge, one of the pre­em­i­nent com­pe­ti­tions for stu­dents tack­ling prob­lems in busi­ness inno­va­tion.

For the third time in four years, a team from the Illi­nois Insti­tute of Technology’s Insti­tute of Design won the chal­lenge. A team from the MIT’s Sloan School of Man­age­ment placed sec­ond and a team from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to came in third. The win­ning team took home a prize $9,000 from the chal­lenge which was spon­sored by Steel­case.

The team from IIT, Mis­sion 2035, includ­ed stu­dents Tara Flip­pin, Court­ney Gar­land, Joan­na Vodopivec, David Pierce and Rad­hi­ka Srini­vasan.

MIT’s team, d^5, was rep­re­sent­ed by Michael Ng, Tareef Jaf­feri, Gena Jiang, Lau­ra Scha­ef­fer, and Will DeKrey.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to team, Connect6, was com­posed of stu­dents Hillary Field, MBA’16; Jere­my Fish, MGA/MBA’16; Matt Zil­li, MBA’16; Maya Boritz, MBA’16; and Pete Kitchen M.Arch’16.

In the chal­lenge, which was orga­nized by the Rot­man Busi­ness Design Club, teams had to explain how Steel­case, the world’s lead­ing sup­pli­er of office fur­ni­ture, and a com­pa­ny ground­ed in the research and under­stand­ing of user behav­ior, will con­tin­ue to play to win in this evolv­ing work envi­ron­ment over the next 20 years.

“The par­tic­i­pants in the Rot­man Busi­ness Design Chal­lenge are so diverse and skilled,” said James Keane, CEO of Steel­case. “When you get such smart, cre­ative peo­ple togeth­er in the same room, the num­ber of great ideas pro­duced are end­less and I get to go back to my com­pa­ny com­plete­ly ener­gized about our future busi­ness in Amer­i­ca and the pos­si­bil­i­ties for com­pa­nies to har­ness this kind of tal­ent.”

“The chal­lenge brings togeth­er a group of pas­sion­ate indi­vid­u­als who believe in the pow­er of com­bin­ing busi­ness and design to solve the chal­leng­ing prob­lems orga­ni­za­tions are fac­ing. For many, this is the high­light of their year,” says Azedeh Housh­mand, Evening MBA’16, who was a direc­tor of the Rot­man Busi­ness Chal­lenge. “And we were thrilled to have a spon­sor that is as well known for inno­va­tion and user-cen­tered work as Steel­case.”

For more infor­ma­tion on the Chal­lenge, vis­it  For more infor­ma­tion on the Rot­man Busi­ness Design Club, vis­it

The Rot­man School of Man­age­ment is locat­ed in the heart of Canada’s com­mer­cial and cul­tur­al cap­i­tal and is part of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, one of the world’s top 20 research uni­ver­si­ties. The Rot­man School fos­ters a new way to think that enables our grad­u­ates to tack­le today’s glob­al busi­ness chal­lenges.  For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it


For more infor­ma­tion:

Ken McGuf­fin
Man­ag­er, Media Rela­tions
Rot­man School of Man­age­ment
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Voice 416.946.3818
Fol­low Rot­man on Twit­ter @rotmanschool
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