Exiting Russia: Students Grapple with a Complex Business Decision in a Time of War

More than 150 students spent 48 hours analyzing whether Danone, a mission driven company headquartered in France, should stay in Russia or leave given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With a mission to “bring health through food to as many people as possible”, Danone initially decided to continue serving the dairy (EDP) and baby food markets in Russia. In October 2022, Danone announced a plan to sell its Russian EDP business. What criteria might be used to make and implement these difficult decisions?  

As participants in the Russell Investments International Case Competition, student teams were challenged to develop criteria not only related to Danone’s stay or leave decision but also related to the selection of a buyer and determination of an asking price. They presented their recommendations to judge panels comprised of business community members. The competition provided an opportunity to apply classroom learning to a real world problem.  

Congratulations to the following winning teams: 

Undergraduate Track:  

  • First Place 
    • Dominik Vlasak (Senior, Finance/Information Systems) 
    • Jessie Zhan (Senior, Marketing/Information Systems) 
    • Drake Chong (Senior, Finance) 
    • Matt Unutzer (Senior, Finance) 
  • Second Place 
    • Britney Hu (Sophomore, Accounting) 
    • Drew Blik (Junior, Finance/Information Systems) 
    • Gyanendra Sengar (Junior, Finance/Economics) 
    • Kohki Sakamoto (Senior, Economics) 
  • Third Place 
    • Tyler Taricco (Senior, Finance) 
    • Jay Lakhani (Senior, Marketing) 
    • Raj Lakhani (Junior, Finance/Marketing) 
    • Mariana Salazar (Senior, Marketing/Information Systems) 

Freshmen Track:  

    • Kai Hutchinson (Accounting/Finance) 
    • Srisubrahmanyar Ramasamy (Finance) 
    • Eleri Lyon (Entrepreneurship, Marketing) 
    • Alex Ma (Finance, Information Systems) 

Master’s Track:  

    • Taranjeev Bath (MSIS) 
    • Ujjwal Chauhan (MSIS) 
    • Animesh Mohanty (MSIS) 
    • Amit Sherpa (MSIS)

Thank you to all of the competitors for the enthusiasm, engagement, and thoughtful recommendations. You represent the future of business. The competition would not have been possible without the partnership of Russell Investments and numerous volunteer hours provided by judges, coaches, and students – thank you!