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GMAC’s i2i Challenge to Fund Proposals to Turn Winning Ideas into Innovation

After a worldwide search, the Graduate Management Admission Council has awarded US$260,000 for the best ideas to improve graduate management education. Now, it’s time to turn some of those ideas into reality.

“Our goal was twofold: first, to find ideas from both traditional and non-traditional sources, and second, to be able to fund the implementation of those ideas,” said Allen Brandt, director of GMAC’s Management Education for Tomorrow Fund, which launched the Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Challenge. “We now invite business schools to submit their plans, and we have the majority of the US$10 million MET Fund available to make one or more of them happen.”

Fifteen winning ideas were selected from more than 650 submissions received in Phase 1 of the i2i Challenge, which posed the question: What one idea would improve graduate management education?

These ideas, along with five honorable mentions, have been posted on for possible Phase 2 funding. Selected for their originality, potential impact/replicability, and feasibility, the ideas include:

  • Using “stackable knowledge units,” such as context-specific educational units and certificate programs, to create more specialized graduate management degree programs, from North Carolina A&T State strategic management professor Alice Stewart (first place, US$50,000).
  • Creating a course to teach business managers problem-solving models from non-business disciplines and how they may be applied to business problems, from James Falbe, International Service Partners (one of four second places, US$25,000).
  • Developing a “graduate management virtual world education community” to train, develop, and evaluate business leadership skills, from Alex Howland and Ronald Rembisz, Alliant International University, (second place, US$25,000).
  • Mounting a cross-university exercise in globalization in which second-year MBA students in one program hire, manage, and fire first-year MBA students at another university, all through telecommunication, from Aadel Al-Jadda of the University of Rochester Simon Graduate School of Business (one of 10 third places, US$10,000).

The winning entries were submitted by students, academics, and consultants from all over the world, from China to Nigeria and including one HEC Paris student from Hungary. Their ideas to improve graduate management education address a variety of issues and solutions, including access, ethics, soft skills, virtual networks, and military leadership.

In Phase 2, business schools and other not-for-profit education providers are invited to submit proposals by October 5, 2011, to turn one or more of them into reality. Proposals will be judged on overall quality, qualifications of key personnel, technical merit, and budget.

“True innovation consists of not just a good idea, but also solid execution that makes a meaningful difference,” Brandt said. “Our call for ideas to improve management education brought response from all over the world. Now, we hope to hear from business schools all over the world, to be innovation leaders.”

To find out more, go to or the GMAC MET Fund blog. Follow the Fund on Twitter at @GMACMETFund.

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