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Ideas to Innovation Challenge Draws Worldwide Interest in Improving Business Education

If the early interest in the Ideas to Innovation (I2I) Challenge are any indication, the next great idea to improve graduate management education could come from the US, India, Singapore—or Zimbabwe, Uruguay, or Uzbekistan.

Residents of all those countries have registered for the I2I Challenge, which GMAC’s Management Education for Tomorrow Fund launched in July by offering a US$50,000 prize for the best one-page idea and a total purse of US$250,000 for the top 15 ideas to improve graduate management education. In the first two months, the gmacmetfund.org website has drawn more than 1,400 registrants from nearly 100 countries.

Editor Johnny Tay, a 2005 graduate of Singapore Management University, is taking up the challenge to see if he’s still in tune with current management issues as he considers a PhD and career in management research.

“I've studied business management for seven years, obtaining first a diploma, and then a bachelor's degree in this field,” he wrote via email. “I'm acting on the paradigm of this competition—that good ideas can come from anywhere.”
That response is just what MET Fund Director Allen Brandt had hoped for.

“We are looking for the best ideas, wherever they may come from: students, faculty, administrators, employers. By issuing the challenge to all stakeholders around the world, we recognize that no one sector or geographic region has a lock on innovation.”

The first phase of the challenge, open through October 8, calls for individuals or teams of up to five people to submit their ideas via a three-paragraph online template. In December, the MET Fund will award US$250,000 to the top 15 entries.

In the second phase, the MET Fund will post the winning 15 ideas and invite schools and other non-profit organizations to submit proposals to implement one of the top ideas. The MET Fund will fund one or more proposals for a total of up to $10 million.

Ideas should be able to demonstrate measurable results within one to three years. Judging criteria are originality, impact on management education, and feasibility. The panel will include worldwide business leaders such as Rona Fairhead, CEO of the Financial Times Group, Jack Maree, CEO of Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Group, and Arif Maqvi, CEO and founder of Abraaj Capital, a Dubai-based private equity firm.

To find out more or register for the challenge, go to gmacmetfund.org. Follow the Fund on Twitter at @GMACMETFund.

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