During this year’s Lasallian Societal Impact Case Competition April 18, Lasallian students from across the U.S. examined a major ethical dilemma facing today’s top largest technology companies — and Saint Mary’s team brought home the trophy for first place. The real-world scenario is an annual opportunity to test students’ research and presentation skills, but also to get them thinking about the ethical component applicable to all areas of business.

This year marked the competition’s second year, in which each of the six Lasallian colleges and universities in the United States put forward a small team of three to five students to compete virtually — making a professional presentation to a panel of judges who then have an opportunity to fire back tough questions.

This year’s topic had to do with Apple and the overarching theme of privacy over safety. Apple, out of respect for its consumers who value their privacy, won’t provide the government access to consumer’s data. But should they in instances of terrorist attacks or murders? It’s an ethical dilemma without an easy answer and teams were left to determine which position they would defend.

Saint Mary’s team of Brady Lindauer, Jackson Nauss, and Maya Wachter made a case for the privacy of consumer data and brought home the crystal apple trophy. In the end, Lindauer said, it comes down to who can speak, present, and defend their ideas with valid evidence — and think on their feet when asked the tough questions.

Lindauer, a senior double majoring in finance and business intelligence and data analytics, has participated in the event twice.

“It was a true honor to represent Saint Mary’s in this competition and to win was even cooler,” he said. “The win against the other Lasallian schools is testament to the real-world education we receive at Saint Mary’s. Classes such as Strategic Management helped us learn to think critically and respond to difficult questions which set us apart from other schools.”

Associate Professor Andrew Scott, the team’s adviser, credits the students’ ability earned presentation skills. “Each team submitted a written report, produced a pre-recorded presentation, and participated in two rounds of live Q&A with a panel of judges,” he said. “Our students really excelled in the live sessions with the judges, presumably because we expect them to present so frequently in our classes internally at Saint Mary’s. Our students are trained to prepare, think creatively in real time, and maintain professional business decorum — even under stress. Maya, Jackson, and Brady, knocked it out the park in answering questions related to the intersection of business strategy and Lasallian values.”


Caption: Maya Wachter, Jackson Nauss, and Brady Lindauer

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