2020 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition

Experience a different take on case competitions!


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Introducing the 10th Annual PRSC!

  • About the 2020 PRSC Competition:

    This exciting 10th annual event has been developed in partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business, the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society, and BP. The competition case will have numerous and complex ethical and business components facing the energy industry. Nine interdisciplinary teams comprised of students from business, engineering, law and related areas will have the unique opportunity to compete in this all-virtual competition and hear presentations from BP managers.

    The 2020 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition (PRSC) will offer full-time Illinois undergraduates of junior or senior standing, as well as graduate and professional school students the chance to address real-world business problems while specifically focusing on ethical and professional responsibility issues that can potentially span any or all of the functional areas of business – e.g., marketing, finance, logistics, law, and human resources.

    This year's case will focus on “energy transition” and the imperative many countries and companies face to reduce carbon emissions and the tradeoffs that entails. Teams will advise an energy company on how to design and implement responsible strategies to reduce carbon emissions and still be profitable. The company is headquartered in a developing country focused on economic growth as well as environmental protection, and the CEO and country president care about both; the CEO must also produce profit for shareholders.

Developed in partnership with the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society and BP, this case competition challenges students to consider business problems in professionally responsible ways from the perspective of multiple stakeholder audiences.

The case and the competition objectives are developed each year by BP business leaders and Center partners. Interdisciplinary teams of four students from different majors and colleges are selected by the PRSC organizers from the applications submitted.

After 10 years, more than 320 students have considered and addressed global challenges. All teams present in the first-round while three teams are then selected for the final-round in which cash prizes are awarded to winners. Judges comprise of industry and faculty experts.

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Apply here to Compete in PRSC!

Applications due: 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, September 16

Key Dates for the 2020 PRSC

  1. 9/9

    PRSC Information Session I

    –Wednesday, September 9, 5:00-6:00 p.m. (via Zoom)

  2. 9/14

    PRSC Information Session II

    –Monday, September 14, 5:00-6:00 p.m. (via Zoom)

  3. 9/16

    2020 PRSC Applications Due – APPLY NOW!

    –Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 11:59 p.m.

  4. 9/23

    Competition Kickoff and Workshop

    –Wednesday, September 23, 5:00-7:00 p.m. (via Zoom)

  5. 10/1

    BP Manager Presentations

    –Thursday & Friday, October 1 & 2 (via Zoom)

    • • Content will help teams better understand the challenges outlined in the case.
    • • Presentations will be no longer than four total hours per day. Specific schedule TBA
  6. 10/8

    First-round Team Presentations

    –Thursday, October 8

    • • Each team will need to be available for a 30-minute presentation time slot
    • • This includes introduction of judges/ announcement of teams advancing to final round
    • • This concludes with a 15-minute feedback session if team is not selected for final-round
  7. 10/9

    Final-round Team Presentations

    –Friday, October 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    • • All PRSC participants must attend the final-round whether or not their team advanced to it

Team Selection and Composition

  • Application Requirements:

    Illinois students are required to submit an application to be considered for the Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition. Event organizers will select competition participants from the applicant pool and form teams. Applicants will be notified by Tuesday, September 22, if they have been selected to participate in the 2020 PRSC.

  • Team Formation:

    Those students selected to participate will meet their team members during the Kickoff and Workshop on Thursday, September 24, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The 2020 PRSC case will be distributed during this time.

    Since an intended goal of this competition is to have participants work on an interdisciplinary team, we would ideally prefer to have one student from Law, one from Engineering, and complete the team with members from different areas of Business. At the same time, however, we realize that some flexibility in team organization may be necessary to best accommodate the skill sets and academic backgrounds represented by those who apply to participate in this competition.

First Place 2019 PRSC Team


  • Presentation Structure:

    This competition is designed to challenge students to consider how ethical and professional responsibility issues are influenced by stakeholder perspectives. Therefore, teams will prepare two or three presentations with each focusing on the interests of a specific stakeholder group (details will be provided when the case is distributed). While each of the presentations should be distinct, some foundational information will naturally be repeated in all of them.

  • Competition Structure:

    Each presentation will be no longer than 30 minutes, including time for judges’ questions. All teams will present during the First-Round and must be prepared to respond to the last case problem if they advance to the Final-Round.

    Judges in the First and Final Rounds will comprise of industry and faculty experts who will be familiar with the issues presented in the case.

Presentation from 2019 PRSC

Overview of Case Competitions

  • Case Competitions Objectives:

    The use of case competitions in business programs at American colleges and universities is a long-held and highly-regarded tradition. While each competition has its own goals and format, they all provide students an opportunity to explore business problems in new and challenging ways. At the same time, these exercises offer all the rewards and challenges of working in a team to accomplish a common goal.

    Students have the opportunity to confront a real and current business problem. They are often able to work directly with a company and its representatives to gain knowledge about the organization, its mission, vision for the future, and the functional areas of its business – operations, finance, marketing, for example. In turn, companies receive fresh ideas for how to address a particular business issue from a group of students who bring new perspectives and insights to the situation.

Analyze business problems from multiple perspectives

Understand the interplay of the functional areas of business

Form convincing business decisions with incomplete info

Work productively in a team situation that closely mimics real-life business

Address competing points of view and confront ethical considerations

Apply principles of professional responsibility to business dilemmas

It is these last two points – the ability to confront ethical business situations and to demonstrate professional responsibility in decision-making – that will serve as the foundation for the 2020 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition.

Interested in learning more?

Download the 2020 PRSC flyer here>>

Take a look at Past PRSC Competitors

Competition Format

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2019 PRSC Winners

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Past PRSC Winners

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Perspectives from Past PRSC Participants

Contact Information

For any questions about the 2020 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition, please contact:

Dr. Kathryn Rybka 

Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition Organizer

Professor Gretchen A. Winter

Executive Director Center for Professional Responsibility