Atlantalytics: Behind the Scenes – The John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition

From Left: Baird (21-22 Co-Managing Director), Lynne Segall (Faculty Advisor), Brandan Gillespie (22-23 Managing Director), and Jasmine Burton (21-22 Co-Managing Director)


Our primary focus is on continued education and action. Over the past two years, we have been fortunate to work with 11 companies that are committed to growing and making a difference – Accenture, HP, IBM Call for Code, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Salesforce, Southern Company, Taco Bell, Truist, UPS, and Walmart. We’ve heard from sponsors that they’re not only adding portions of their student team’s recommendations to their roadmaps, but from student teams working with other sponsors as well. Multiple student recommendations have been instrumental in advancing sponsor organizations, ranging from developing an entirely new pipeline for HBCU students to revising their supplier diversity program to work with more diverse suppliers.

To complement the sponsor actions, feedback from the students has been overwhelmingly positive. While we have a model of continuous improvement (and have plenty to improve upon), we’ve had great feedback with finalists going as far as saying the following: “This has been the most enriching experience of my B-school journey to date!” and “THIS is why I came to business school, to help create impact for good and push corporations to do the same.”

Finalists have also been invited to present to executives or work with individuals in the company to review their recommendations. In fact, multiple finalists have been offered internships and one prize winner ended up working for their sponsor to assist in the implementation of their recommendations. This past year, we were fortunate to partner with the Clinton Foundation and were able to automatically qualify two teams to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University 2022 cohort. This is a year-long accelerator where they can learn as well as to develop and implement their recommendations from the competition.

Outside of those directly involved with the competition, we’ve been successful in investing in organizations that are making a difference as well as spreading the message about these issues out and getting more people to think about solutions. The competition has received interest from over 900 applicants, engaged 175 esteemed judges, reached live finals audiences of over 5000 people, gifted $151k in prize money (with $75,000 going to organization advancing racial justice), been featured in more than 50 publications, required the efforts of more than 50 student leaders, and has provided 44 well-researched corporate action plans for our sponsors (and audiences).

Burton behind the camera


While the competition has been a huge success, there is still much work to do. This competition ideally wouldn’t need to exist in the future.  However, the competition currently exists to create solutions and to hold corporations accountable, so we need to do the same for ourselves. If participants aren’t learning or sponsors aren’t acting on the recommendations, then this competition is simply virtue signaling. I am very proud that the competition has helped so many individuals and corporations to re-evaluate their own practices and work towards creating a more equitable future, including myself. I’m confident that the future leaders of this competition will continue to build on the foundation and hone in on the impact. I am excited that we’ll be handing over the reins to Brandan Gillespie (Emory MBA23), who will bring this competition to the next level by expanding the reach, adding new initiatives, and focusing on post-competition outcomes. For Brandan, and future leaders of other business school organizations, I wanted to close this article by providing 7 quick tips that I learned from this experience.


1. Delegation: Developing trust and initial committing to your team will pay dividends in the end. Show people that you trust them, and they’ll trust you.

2. Courage: Be in a position where you are willing to take risks in significant situations. When there is a lot on the line, taking the first step is the toughest, but most important move.

3. Accountability: Everyone has different priorities, especially in business school. Setting expectations early, having regular touchpoints, creating avenues for escalations, and ensuring team members have skin in the game is crucial.

4. Self-Confidence: Why should others believe in you if you don’t believe in you? You’re in the position you are for a reason, so be confident and make the best of it. At the same time, know your limitations and take advantage of those around you

5. Decision-Making: Sometimes leaders need to act without complete information. Gather what you can, then trust your gut and make things happen

6. Strategy: Action isn’t always what is needed. Focusing on operations and “the now” is important but taking a step back to think through the bigger picture is key to long-term growth and success.

7. Gratitude: Nobody gets to where they are or accomplishes what they do without a large support system. Generous, compassionate, and humble people make the best leaders that people want to follow.

Kegan is an MBA student at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, where he is concentrating in Marketing, Analytics, and Social Enterprise. Kegan graduated from the University of Georgia in 2016, majoring in Marketing and Statistics. Prior to business school, Kegan was a consultant in the Strategy & Analytics practice at Deloitte, focusing on data analysis and marketing strategies. Outside of work, he is (sadly) a huge Atlanta sports fan and is often running, play tennis, or enjoying time with wife, friends, and family.


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