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Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and The Honest Company Host 2023 Business Case Competition

Honest Case Competition

Pepperdine Graziadio Business School competed in the 2023 MBA case competition hosted by The Honest Company. The Pepperdine full-time MBA students competed against each other in self-formed teams for bragging rights and other prizes. The winning team was composed of MBA students Amanda Auciello, Benjamin Castillo, Ervin Mercado, Yiting Yan, and Zahra Kamel and was coached by Graziadio’s Career and Professional Development team. 

Read on to learn about The Honest Company, the winning team’s experience in the case competition, and how Pepperdine’s MBA programs prepare students for lives of purpose-driven leadership while at Graziadio and beyond. 

About The Honest Company 

The Honest Company (NASDAQ: HNST) is a digitally-native consumer products company dedicated to creating clean- and sustainably-designed products spanning baby care, beauty, personal care, wellness, and household care.

Pepperdine Graziadio’s director of corporate relations, Shawn Herrera, drew parallels on the value alignment between Pepperdine and The Honest Company’s missions:  

“The Honest Company is a world-class organization that shares a similar mission/vision as Pepperdine Graziadio. I can attest from firsthand interactions that The Honest Company employees are exactly the type of working professionals who will make excellent students in our classrooms and excellent alumni in our society.”  

In 2022, The Honest Company became an official Graziadio corporate partner and was awarded a George Award for outstanding partnership in 2023. 

About the MBA Case Competition: The Team & Experience

Graziadio alumna and Honest’s sales planning associate, Evonna Ranade (MSGB ‘21) was instrumental in organizing Honest’s fourth annual MBA case competition and worked with the company’s VP of sales planning & strategy, Kurt Kober, to plan the event. Together, they formed a small team to develop the topic for the case and coordinated the in-person programming.

The winning team was composed of five full-time MBA students, Amanda Auciello, Benjamin Castillo, Ervin Mercado, Yiting Yan, and Zahra Kamel, who represented diverse professional backgrounds spanning entertainment, finance, law, marketing, project management, non-profit, and the military.

First-year MBA student, Amanda Auciello shared her favorite aspects of the experience: 

“I had a very positive experience at The Honest Company! It was extra special to hear directly from Jessica Alba (Founder), and Carla Vernón (CEO), about their backgrounds and what truly matters to them when representing Honest. The rest of the team at Honest was also very welcoming and excited to host us, and having the opportunity to present directly to the Honest staff was so rewarding.” 

After spending over 60 hours preparing, the MBA students presented their case strategy to members of the Honest team at their Playa Vista headquarters. 

Developing Marketable Skills for Graziadio Students & Alumni

The Pepperdine Graziadio Business School offers students resources to support their development of highly sought-after skills that win in today’s business market. Namely, Graziadio’s Career and Professional Development, which played an integral role in the case competition’s success, provides students with personalized coaching, career development programming, and networking opportunities to refine the competencies needed to achieve their professional goals. 

In this competition, Graziadio students were able to synthesize their classroom instruction and test their understanding through real-world, applied learning experiences.

MBA student, Amanda Auciello, shared how she believes participating in this competition has prepared her for future success:

“I plan to have a career that is impact-driven. By competing in this case competition, I feel I have learned how to work with different personality types and work ethics, which can be simple or challenging. This is a true reflection of how many professional environments are, so it is important to learn how to work together and respect any differences that may arise. I plan to take this with me into a professional setting.”

The learning outcomes gained from Graziadio are not limited to current students. MSGB alumni, Evonna Ranade (‘21) shared how her time at Graziadio prepared her to thrive in her role at Honest:

“My time at Graziadio taught me so many valuable lessons, one of the most impactful being the importance of networking. Since Honest is still relatively small, I’ve been able to get to know people across all functions, which has given me a greater understanding of the business, helped my enterprise-wide mindset, and allowed me to perform better in my role. This has not only helped me develop professionally at Honest, but it has also enabled me to form great bonds with so many of the amazingly talented people we have working here.”

Equipping students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership is integral to Pepperdine Graziadio’s mission and a key focus of its values-centered program curricula. 

Graziadio and Honest hope to continue their partnership and collaborate on future events. 

Pepperdine Graziadio thanks the entire Honest Company team for hosting Graziadio students at their fourth annual case competition, and congratulates Amanda Auciello, Benjamin, Ervin, Yiting, and Zahra for their first-place finish!

To learn more about The Honest Company, visit their website. Find more information on Pepperdine Graziadio’s Full-Time MBA program here