The Strategy Challenge brings together top-performing employees from across the firm for a ten-week pro bono consulting project that creates concrete deliverables and helps our nonprofit partners achieve their potential and amplify impact.
What is the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge?
Launched in 2009, the Strategy Challenge is our annual signature initiative to give our employees an opportunity to use their skills to profoundly impact the communities where we live and work. Since the launch of the Strategy Challenge in 2009, employees have cumulatively delivered more than 81,200 hours of pro bono service, valued at approximately $12.4 million,* to 117 nonprofit organizations.
What are the benefits of the program for nonprofits?
Nonprofits receive pro bono strategic consulting on a mission-critical strategic issue that will ultimately help them increase their impact. Organizations draw on the client-centric approach, analytical rigor and strategic insights of our employees, including their quantitative and qualitative expertise for practical strategic implementation. Nonprofits also build their relationship with Morgan Stanley and our employees, as well as gain exposure to other organizations.
What is the tangible impact on the nonprofits?
The Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge teams deliver a board-ready presentation, practical implementation action steps, and tools for future analysis and decision-making. These recommendations have led to productivity improvements, more efficient business models and expanded services.
* Values according to standards developed by the Taproot Foundation
How is the program structured?
Teams of four Morgan Stanley employees work together for ten weeks to analyze and solve a strategic, mission-critical issue for our charitable partners. The teams' work culminates in a daylong competition where their recommendations are presented in front of senior firm leadership and evaluated by a panel of experts from the private and nonprofit sectors. The event celebrates their work and participants share strategic insights, tools and ideas gained from the experience.
What types of projects are well suited for the Strategy Challenge?
We specialize in challenges where analytical rigor adds value. In addition to seeking projects that are well suited for our employees' skillsets, the Strategy Challenge specifically focuses on those project scopes that will have a meaningful impact on the charity's ability to meet its mission. Past projects include:
Evaluating possible city options for a nonprofit exploring growth through national expansion
Considering the design and implementation of a new private-pay model for a nonprofit facing withdrawal of a key donor
Assessing how to integrate new programming into an organization's overall mission and financial structure
How are the Morgan Stanley teams selected?
We select the Morgan Stanley teams from a pool of rising-star employees who are either Associates or Vice Presidents in divisions across Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley forms the teams and ensures that they have the appropriate diversity of skill sets and experience to execute the project. Each team is assigned a Managing Director advisor (top executive) who provides ongoing guidance, and teams receive additional support from a coach at a nonprofit consulting firm. Employees work on the projects in a volunteer capacity in addition to their full-time jobs.
How do nonprofits apply?
We solicit our existing nonprofit partners to apply. After nonprofits are invited to apply for the program, there is a competitive selection process.
In the United States, the program has been offered in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In 2014, the program expanded to London.
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