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LeBow College MBA Students Team Up With West Philly High School Students Vying for Progressive Automotive X Prize

LeBow College MBA Students Team Up With West Philly High School Students Vying for Progressive Automotive X Prize

Philadelphia, April 20, 2009

A team of students from Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business MBA students recently finished a one-of-a-kind assignment: The team conducted marketing research and wrote the business plan for West Philly Hybrid X Team – the West Philadelphia High School team that is vying to win the Progressive Automotive X Prize competition, a competition of cars designed to exceed 100 miles per gallon. The West Philly Hybrid X Team will use this business plan—which validates the vehicle they are entering as a viable product—as part of their official entry in the X Prize competition. West Philly Hybrid X Team is currently among 120 teams from 17 countries entered in this competition – and while West Philadelphia is a public high school serving economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, these students are turning heads, having been ranked more highly than teams from elite universities and well-financed companies. In competing for part of a $10 million prize, this inner-city high school is an underdog to say the least. Yet last spring, the magazine Popular Mechanics rated West Philly Hybrid X Team among the “Top 10 Early Contenders” for the X Prize. For the Drexel MBA students, developing this business plan required rigorous research, the establishment of a supply chain network, and negotiations about what the car could and could not be. The West Philly Hybrid X team had set some parameters for its vehicle: It needed to create green jobs for workers in the Philadelphia region, and it needed to cost about $25,000. This partnership worked out optimally for everyone involved: The MBA students delivered a business plan for the West Philly High School students to use in the competition that validates their vehicle; and the experience provided the MBA students with a rich learning experience. This project was “the absolute intersection between theory and practice,” said Jonathan Schilling, a One-Year MBA student at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business. “We met with real people, and we listened to real business problems, and hopefully we offered the real business solutions [the West Philly Hybrid X Team] was hoping for.” The Drexel student team also consisted of One-Year MBA students Cara Jespersen, Nicole Gubanich, Cosimo Schiavone, and Supratik Bhattacharjee. To interview a LeBow College MBA student about the business plan and the experience of teaming up with West Philly High School for the X Prize Competition, please contact Lisa Litzinger, Assistant Director of Communications at LeBow College of Business, at 215-895-2897 or lml64@drexel.edu About Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business Recognized by BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur-Princeton Review, Financial Times, and U.S.News & World Report for superior programs, Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business empowers, enriches and inspires future business leaders through an innovative, strategic approach to business education in its master’s, bachelor’s and doctoral programs. LeBow College is accredited by AACSB International—the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the best national doctoral universities, Drexel is one of fewer than 30 private universities classified by The Carnegie Foundation as Research Universities (high research activity). ### News Media Contacts: Lisa Litzinger, Assistant Director of Communications at LeBow College of Business, 215-895-2897 or lml64@drexel.edu Niki Gianakaris, director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or ngianakaris@drexel.edu