USC Price School of Public Policy

GPAC Hosts Nonprofit Case Challenge

GPAC Hosts First Nonprofit Case Challenge

Judges Judges, comprised of Price School faculty and alumni, deliberate.

On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Nonprofit Committee of the Graduate Policy Administration Community (GPAC) hosted the first Nonprofit Case Challenge at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. The event provided 21 graduate policy and administration students the opportunity to apply their professional and academic experiences to a challenging non-profit case based on a real-life situation.

Two days before the event, seven teams were given time to research and prepare recommendations for a fictional organization – Caring for Families – with financial, leadership, and programming challenges. On Saturday, the teams presented comprehensive recommendations on a fundraising strategy, service delivery and board development to a panel of judges comprised of Price School professors and alumni.

Winners MPA students Peter Thomas, Sumi Parekh and Chenchen Zhang

For participant Nadia Valliani, a Master of Public Policy student, the event was a unique opportunity to simulate a nonprofit consulting situation and gain experience.

“The feedback from the judges was incredibly helpful,” Valliani said. “They are real-world practitioners and gave us suggestions that were not only helpful to the case challenge, but also were lessons that I can carry with me in my future endeavors.”

In addition to selecting the finalists and winner, judges gave each team individualized feedback, helping students assess their presentation’s strengths and weaknesses. Students also used the opportunity to network with Price School faculty and alumni.

John Roberson MPP student John Roberson III gives his presentation.

After a long, competitive day of presentations and deliberation, the judges selected MPP students Chenchen Zhang, Peter Thomas, and Sumi Parekh as winners of the case challenge. Second place was awarded to Valliani and Master of Public Administration students Caroline Kim and Therese Franklin. MPA students Ani Manavyan and Daisy Chilin and MPP student John Robertson III earned third place.

Assistant Professor David Suarez, who participated as a judge, commented, “I was astonished to see so many students voluntarily spend their Saturday exposed to stressful situations — a great sign for the future of the Price School. I sincerely hope the case challenge continues in the future, and GPAC should be really proud of what it has accomplished.”