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September 2013

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MBA Students Competing for $50,000 to Launch Virtual World

Students, start your engines. Thirty-two second-year MBA students from around the world will work on virtual teams to run mock car companies and compete for US$50,000 in prize money in October. The Business Simulation Competition, announced by the University of California San Diego Rady School of Management, in collaboration with Rembisz & Associates, will launch VirBELA, a 3-D immersive virtual world created for business education collaboration.

"We are excited for the VirBELA launch and hope to be able to offer opportunities for many more students from various locations and universities to connect via VirBELA in the months following the inaugural competition," said Alex Howland, VirBELA co-founder and program manager.

VirBELA, which won start-up funding from the GMAC Management Education for Tomorrow Fund (MET Fund), is being developed to increase international collaboration among business students and to provide them with opportunities to work on multi-national teams.

Students will be able to interact within an amazing virtual environment, which provides all kinds of new ways to break down cultural barriers, re-imagine collaboration, and provide faculty ways to deliver coursework and grade results. VirBELA is precisely the sort of innovation that GMAC and the MET Fund seek to support in our effort to move management education forward by giving back.

- MET Fund Director Allen Brandt, GMAC


The Business Simulation will place 32 students into eight teams of four. Each team will manage an automobile company with the objective to build sales, improve profitability and maximize shareholder value by making quarterly inputs over 16-20 virtual quarters. Members of each team, to be announced at the end of September, will rely on the VirBELA technology to collaborate and compete.

"VirBELA provides an opportunity for students to learn about the benefits and challenges of leading distributed multinational teams in a low risk, fun atmosphere. By participating, students will be provided with just-in-time learning, have their performance observed and gain valuable insights with personal coaching," said Robert Sullivan, dean of the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego.

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