Business & Society Institute

John R. Lewis Case Competition


Focusing on the Intersection of Business & Racial Inequality

By bringing together current business leaders and top students from across the country, the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition (JLCC) goes beyond short-term solutions and brings lasting change. The JLCC is the first of its kind student-run case competition focused on racial justice, that provides students the opportunity to understand the history of systemic racism in the US and provide bold, innovative, and actionable recommendations for companies actively looking to address issues of racial inequality both inside and outside their organizations. In the second year of the competition, we have expanded the leadership team to include students from prominent universities across the country to organize the event and host the semifinals.

  • Finding Inspiration

    The racial justice movement inspired Goizueta Business School students to create the first-of-its-kind case competition focused on addressing issues of racial inequality in business. Students around the country were asking what they could do to affect meaningful social change while also educating themselves on issues of systemic and institutional racism. At the same time, major corporations were pledging solidarity and setting goals to tackle racial inequality and injustice.
  • Real Challenges, Real Solutions

    While typical case competitions are often focused on a fabricated case “prompt” that describes a situation, scenario, problem or opportunity, The John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition seeks to bring students together with corporations to create bold, innovative, and actionable racial justice/equity initiatives that could create lasting change.
  • Expanding Impact

    This year we are thrilled to expand our reach by partnering with four diverse universities (Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Howard University School of Business, Rice Jones Graduate School of Business, and Yale School of Management) who will host the preliminary and public semifinal rounds of the 2021-22 competition. Each university will partner with a corporate sponsor from a specific industry.

Competition Details

John Lewis Case Competition

Application Dates

  • October 1, 2021 - Application opens
  • November 19, 2021 at 11:59PM EST - Application deadline


  • November 22, 2021 - Sponsor reveal


  • December 6, 2021 - Semifinalist teams announced
  • January 18, 2022 - Semifinal presentations due
  • January 20, 2022 - Semifinals held virtually


  • January 21, 2022 - Live final event held virtually

From A Summer of Injustice

John R. Lewis
The Emory Team

An Idea is Born

The summer of 2020 proved pivotal for many. Multiple murders of unarmed Black citizens by police sparked national outrage and protests across the country. With issues of racial injustice and police brutality at the forefront of national conversations, students were looking to take action, while corporations began pledging funds to address these very issues. At Emory University's Goizueta Business School, Willie Sullivan (MBA '21) saw an opportunity to educate future business leaders and take action at the intersection of business and racial injustice.

Case Competition Questions

Yes. All undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply, regardless of major or concentration. 

No, we encourage all students interested in these issues to apply. However, all students on a team must attend the same university.

Yes. However, there is a maximum of two teams from any given university that can be promoted to the semifinals.

No. The preliminary round consists of an industry-generic PowerPoint statement on intention. Semifinalists will be assigned to a corporate sponsor on December 6th and given a specific case prompt based on that sponsor's racial justice/equality goals.

Corporate partners will be announced on November 22.


Yes. All 20 semifinalists will receive a primary research budget of $1,000.

No. PowerPoint Statement of Intention will be separated from other application materials that include university name. The screening committee members will only receive the PowerPoint Statement of Intention.

Please email us for anything not discussed here.


Our Goals

  • Education

    Educate students on the history of systemic racism in the United States and how they can address systemic issues through innovative and strategic thinking and development of actionable solutions.
  • Action

    Provide corporations with actionable and impactful strategies for addressing racial inequality through targeted initiatives, philanthropy and education.

A Civil Rights & Social Justice Leader

John Lewis
1940 - 2020

Congressman John R. Lewis

With the blessing of his family, the competition bears the name of the late Honorable John R. Lewis, a social justice icon who represented Atlanta (District 5) in the United States Congress for 34 years. Lewis was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, marching, organizing, and speaking with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. across the US. He devoted his life to racial justice and equality, always encouraging young people to not be silent and to “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good, necessary trouble.”