Donahue Center-sponsored Team Addresses Inequity of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Business students Raj Aurora, Thomas Stranberg and Prabakar Adithya compete on Zoom
The Manning School of Business team of, clockwise from top left, Raj Aurora, Thomas Stranberg and Prabakar Adithya earned a pair of victories at the annual International Business Ethics Case Competition.

By Ed Brennen

The Manning School of Business team of senior Thomas Stranberg and juniors Raj Aurora and Prabakar Adithya earned two first-place finishes at the recent International Business Ethics Case Competition — UMass Lowell’s best showing at the annual event.

Eighteen teams from 17 institutions took part in the virtual competition, which requires teams to select a current business ethics issue, choose the perspective from which they will present arguments, and identify the role the judges will portray. Teams then make presentations in 25-minute, 10-minute, and 90-second competitions.

Sponsored by the Donahue Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, the UML team won the 10-minute and 90-second competitions in their undergraduate divisions — and a total of $600 in prize money. The competition included teams from Penn State, Fordham University and the U.S. Military Academy, as well as from universities in Spain and Turkey.

Representing the internal ethics advisory board at Pfizer, the team addressed the inequity of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution among underserved communities and vulnerable individuals from the pharmaceutical company’s perspective, with the judges representing Pfizer corporate leadership.

Aurora, an Honors business administration major from North Andover, Massachusetts, delivered the team’s winning 90-second “elevator pitch.” He described his team’s wins as “surreal.”

“Participating in a competition that prioritizes ethics above anything else, and being able to express my perspective in these contemporary ethical issues, was a profoundly empowering moment,” he said.

Last semester, Stranberg, Aurora and Adithya represented the Manning School in the Providence College School of Business Michael Smith Regional Ethics Case Competition.

The team spent the spring semester working with their faculty advisors — Visiting Instructor Elissa Magnant, Asst. Prof. Erica Steckler and Louise Durand, a visiting faculty lecturer in management — to research and analyze their selected topic.

The team also consulted industry expert Nancy O’Hare, a healthcare executive working on frontline pandemic efforts and an executive guest lecturer in the Manning School.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the team for its wonderful achievement,” said Business Dean Sandra Richtermeyer. 

Since 2018, the Donahue Center has provided support and mentoring to student teams competing in business ethics case competitions.