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In a period of just one year, MBA students at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management collected more than EUR 100,000 in donations. The donations drive was part of the Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge and will benefit the children’s rights organization Save the Children.
Since April 2016, the Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge has been an integral component of the orientation week for freshmen MBA students at the WHU. To date, three challenges have been conducted and have introduced each new class to its study curriculum at WHU. During their first week as students at the School of Management, students were tasked with tackling five big challenges. The assignments were not announced until the morning of each challenge day. The students designed a board game, wrote a children’s book and conjured up a cookie recipe for their charity and instantly produced the items so that they could be used for the promotion of the children’s rights organization advocacy in downtown Düsseldorf. Moreover, they developed a fundraising strategy for Save the Children and communicated with businesses and private donors to solicit contributions. Hence, the project weeks simultaneously covered several of the key business administrative disciplines: Product development, strategy, marketing, negotiations and sales.
The students worked in teams comprising up to five members. A different student assumed the position of team leader every single day. The assignments imposed extreme time constraints and competitive pressure on the teams, with the objective of preparing them for difficult management scenarios. With the assistance of mentors, thorough instructions and comprehensive feedback at the end of each day, students learned how to improve their management competencies. However, a lot of the leadership qualifications training also focused intensely on social responsibilities. “For an entire week, students became active contributors to the work of the children’s rights organization Save the Children. At WHU, we are firmly convinced that assuming a position of leadership always also goes hand in hand with assuming responsibility for the community. We aim to intensify the awareness of this fact through our study programs from the very first day,” explains Professor Dr. Jochen Menges, chair holder Management and Human Resource Management and head of the Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge.
To date, the challenge has generated a total of EUR 103,630.41 in donations. Save the Children will utilize these funds to provide access to school and high quality education to children and adolescents during natural disasters and in times of crisis. “This week, our emphasis was on forgotten crises, which are chronically underfunded due to the lack of public attention. Through the fundraising strategies the students developed and with the negotiation skills they deployed, the students have made an important contribution to our advocacy work,” Bidjan Nashat, a member of the board of Save the Children Germany, explained. “For us, the Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to bring on board the business executives of tomorrow to support our important mission for the benefit of children.”