Graduate Student Fights Terrorism With Business

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Saint Joseph's University's Steve Alvater, a graduate management major, was recently awarded third place in a national business ethics competition.

Alvater achieved third place in Net Impact's Network Challenge held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Net Impact, an international network of over 10,000 M.B.A. students and business leaders who work to use business for social good, challenged members to devise a business plan that the network would implement in the future.

Alvater opted to work on the "Business and Peace" section of the competition, where contestants developed a business model that could be applied to minimize the danger posed by nuclear weapons and terrorists.

Alvater's plan centered on an increase in Net Impact chapters at universities in countries with known terrorist activities, in hopes that Net Impact's presence would aid in an increased communication between these countries.

"If we work to develop business relationships across political and religious lines, a dependency between countries could be created that would then decrease the possibility of a nuclear attack," said Alvater.

The Saga Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises awareness of nuclear safety and sponsored the "Business and Peace" section of the competition, awarded Alvater $500 for his third place finish. And while Alvater's business model will not be implemented by Net Impact, he was approached by a number of people with both business and academic backgrounds who were interested in his proposal, with whom he plans to meet again at Net Impact's 2008 North American Conference at The Wharton School in Philadelphia.

"Regardless of outcomes and awards, spending time focused on a specific issue and actionable plan made my optimistic business model seem more realistic and more possible," said Alvater. Saint Joseph's faculty praised Alvater not only for his competent business model and third place finish but also for his espousal of Jesuit ideals.

"Steve is very skilled at creating both morally compelling and strategically sound solutions to business problems," said David Steingard, Ph.D., assistant director of the Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics, who taught Steve in his Stakeholder Theory and Social Responsibility class. "Steve's prizewinning finish in this competition demonstrates a key Jesuit value: 'the commitment to a faith that does justice.'"

--Dan Wisniewski '08

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