College Park, Md. – January 28, 2010 – The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are teaming up for the Global Challenge, a first-of-its-kind competition that challenges teams of MBA and other graduate students to develop business solutions that support international development. Teams will be tasked with devising a new public-private alliance that allows a private enterprise to meet its long-term business goals while contributing to international development initiatives in a specified region.
“We invite MBA and graduate students from across the nation to employ their creativity, research skills, business acumen and passion for seeking solutions that advance growth and reduce poverty,” said G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. “It is our hope that future business leaders balance profit-making with social impact and take all stakeholders into account when making decisions, values we are committed to fostering at the Smith School.”
In round one of the competition, teams will submit written proposal in response to a specified Global Challenge prompt, then up to eight groups will be invited to compete in the oral presentation final-round competition at USAID’s headquarters at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. on April 23, 2010. Judges will include representatives from USAID, industry-leading private sector companies, and academia.
The concepts addressed in the Global Challenge are a top priority for USAID and are closely related to Global Engagement, one of the key themes of President Obama’s foreign policy, which seeks to address development challenges by engaging and empowering local stakeholders.
Teams will vie for $8,500 in cash prizes: $5,000 for first place, $2,500 second place, and $1,000 third place. Students will have the opportunity to connect with leading experts in the international development and business communities, receive guidance and build invaluable relationships with other students. Winning teams also will have their work published and distributed to international development professionals around the world.
The Global Challenge is sponsored by USAID’s Business Growth Initiative and the Smith School’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) and Center for Social Value Creation. The Center for Social Value Creation launched in September 2009 with a mission to engage students in courses and experiential learning programs to enable them to become global leaders who understand how to use business as a vehicle for both economic prosperity and transformative social change, and to support faculty research in related areas.
“Now, more than ever, the private sector plays a critical role in international development,” said Melissa Carrier, executive director of the Center for Social Value Creation. “We are looking for new ideas and fresh perspectives on how companies can best address the needs of the developing world.”
To register to or for more information about the Global Challenge, visit the Web site. Teams may register online through Feb. 5, 2010.