In April 2012, the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®), the global non-profit council of business schools that administers the GMAT® exam, presented more than US$7.1 million in grants to 12 organizations around the world as part of its Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Challenge.
These institutions received funding to build programs focused on social responsibility and service learning opportunities in graduate management education. These programs are building new pathways for military veterans into business leadership, and encouraging global collaboration among educational institutions.
Many of these initiatives are based on the ideas of current and former students. Read below to learn more about these students, their innovative ideas, and the projects they helped launched.
James Falbe, MBA candidate, Mendoza College of Business
Winning Idea: Using Big Ideas to Solve Big Problems
Hear from James: “Most business problems have elegant and simple solutions. However these problems do not all have economic or even business-related causes. Therefore the best solutions might not come from traditional business disciplines (accounting, management, etc.), but rather from the problem-solving methods of other academic fields (psychology, history, math). Only by training today's managers in the 'Big Ideas' will they be able to treat both the symptoms and causes of tomorrow's big problems.”
Project Funded: Abhyudaya ("Prosperity and Development of All")
School/Institution: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s SP Jain Institute of Management & Research (Mumbai)
Lauren Hanat, Lehigh University, MBA, Class of 2012
Winning Idea: Communication and Information Technology: What else is there?
Hear from Lauren: "Given that the world is changing at a faster rate than education, students need to go back to basics and have a strong foundation in communication in order to handle the challenges presented by the unknown that is the future. In today's world, there is nothing more important than effective communication and implementation of information technology in business. Students who excel in using information technology will be great leaders because they demonstrate the ability to learn and change.”
Project Funded: The Global Integrative Module
School/Institution: ESADE Business School (Barcelona)
Sisi Zhu, MS Candidate in Sustainability Management, Columbia University
Winning Idea: Practical Challenge for Social Good
Hear from Sisi: “Management education needs a refresher on ethics and integrity to prepare leaders to make the most positive impact in society. Through practical projects, students will execute real-life problem solving and planning, truly ingrain the sense of responsibility for decisions, and put their leadership and teamwork abilities to the test. On a larger scale, this practical challenge will help communities in need around the world, and benefit the image of institutions contributing to the greater good.”
Projects Funded: Projects for Good & Leading in a Civilian Context: A Socially Responsible MBA for Returning Veterans
School/Institutions: Net Impact (San Francisco) and University of South Florida, St. Petersburg
M. Kendall Fitch, Harvard University, MBA, Class of 2012
Winning Idea: Leading in a Civilian Context
Hear from M. Kendall: “I propose an MBA course for veterans — “Leading in a Civilian Context” — that would address managing in civilian contexts, transitioning to the civilian workforce, and leveraging service experience. Upon completion, students may be offered credit for up to three classes depending on their level and experience of military service. The course would be attractive to students in speeding time to degree completion and providing community and reentry support that is often lacking in US higher education.”
Projects Funded: Credit Where Credit is Due: Veteran and Service Member Pathway to the MBA & Leading in a Civilian Context
School/Institutions: SUNY Empire State College (Saratoga Springs, NY) and University of South Florida, St. Petersburg
Yousef Al-Tamimi, German Jordanian University, MBA, Class of 2009
Winning Idea Implemented: SME Partnership Program
Hear from Yousef: "This is a unique MBA program, which meets the ambitions of entrepreneurs in domestic economies by solving challenges facing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), within an academic environment and legal framework. This program will be able to generate needed funds for business schools, develop local SMEs to be more competitive, and create successful business leaders. My idea will be applicable in every country, it is flexible to meet any business and academic environment, and targets wide range of population."
Project Funded: Veteran Employment Through Modified Graduate Management Tracks (VET-MGMT)
School/Institution: Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families
Alex Howland, Doctoral candidate in Psychology, Alliant International University
Winning Student Idea Implemented: A Whole New World of Opportunity: Collaboration in the Virtual World
Hear from Alex: "We believe the virtual world offers a platform to train, develop, and assess core business leadership competencies in a way that cannot be done in a traditional classroom setting. Although individual graduate programs have begun to develop virtual world resources, we believe there needs to be a more collaborative effort. We propose developing a ‘graduate management virtual world education community’ to promote collaboration. Our idea is built around inclusion, innovation, and feasibility."
Projects Funded: A Whole New World of Opportunity: Collaboration in the Virtual World & Enhancing Relevance in the Graduate Business Curriculum Through Factory Videos
School/Institutions: The Regents of the University of California, San Diego, Rady School of Management
Richard Zhou, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), MBA, Class of 2009
Winning Idea Implemented: Build 60 International Graduate Management Education Programs in Less Developed Regions in 5 Years
Hear from Richard: “The future of less developed regions has been limited by weak management education. The idea of introducing international programs is to increase access for underrepresented populations, supply talents serving regional economies, bolster local academic prosperity, and increase global communications.”
Project Funded: Development & Delivery of Business Education and Executive Development Programmes in the Graduate School of Business
School/Institution: University of Botswana
Chukwuma Nze, MBA candidate, Loyola Marymount University
Winning Idea Implemented: The Hub Network: How GMAC Can Get Ahead of the Business Incubator Trend
Hear from Chukwuma: "Graduate programs have changed. A new focus on the “team” has created an environment where diversity and creativity are valued. Included in this change has been an emphasis on real-world solutions to current issues. Private firms have gone farther with Business Incubators. Business schools have mirrored this process with little success, with most success coming from personal networks. GMAC can solve this by creating a web application restricted to students interested in entrepreneurship."
Project Funded: VIP: The Virtual Incubation Program at the University of Waterloo
School/Institution: University of Waterloo, Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship
and Technology Centre