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


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Ken McGuffin
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Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
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