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In the fourth Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge, the new MBA students raised a staggering amount to continue WHU’s support of Save the Children
A celebratory start to the MBA program for our new Part-Time and Full-Time students gave way to their first task almost immediately. From 4 – 8 September, the 69 new MBA students embarked on the fourth Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge. Designed by Professor Dr. Jochen Menges in 2016, the Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge is not only a learning opportunity, but also supports fundraising for Save the Children.
As with previous challenges, the theme focused on “Education Safe from Disasters”, an initiative geared towards building resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. Every year, the lives of 35.6 million children are disrupted in the Asia-Pacific, resulting in damaged schools and disrupted livelihoods, leaving children unable to go to school. To combat this disruption, Save the Children is working hard to reduce the risks from hazards in the education sector. Bidjan Nashat, Member of the Board and Director Programmes & Advocacy, Save the Children, has attended every challenge to date. “I can assure you that every time has the same excitement. This is the largest batch of MBA students we have worked with and I am looking forward to meeting you all, the future leaders,” he said, addressing the students at the start of the week.
The challenge this September required students to source a product from scratch. Each day brings a new task – product sourcing, branding and packaging, selling – and a new leader. "A different student takes the lead each day. Thanks to intensive instructions, mentors, and comprehensive feedback, students gain valuable leadership experience and are able to advance their management competencies,” explains Professor Dr. Jochen Menges, the faculty member in charge of the Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge. From day one, energy and motivation radiated around students and experts alike, and the atmosphere was electric. Creativity was evident, with product ideas ranging from tote bags and postcards, to seeds, chocolates, handmade flowers, and toilet rolls. Mid-week, students tested their fundraising skills when the teams embarked on the marketing and negotiation challenge. This was a real highlight, with the WHU community spreading the word to the public about this important cause.
Throughout the week, distinguished experts attended to judge each group on their daily performance. Christian Underwood, a 2012 Part-Time MBA alumnus said, “The Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge is experiential learning – students are exposed to different topics and group dynamics from day one of their studies”. Zeeshan Sultan, MBA Class of 2007, also involved in the challenge, supported Christian’s comments. “This isn’t just teambuilding, there are real results and this week equips students with tangible skills they can draw from over their studies.”
The total sum raised amounted to an extraordinary €42,521.60. The aptly named Team 1 won the overall challenge with their product “The Standard Roll”, a simple product with a big impact. They turned the humble toilet roll into an inspiring purchase, educating customers on the effects of poor hygiene standards on education in disaster-stricken areas. Full-Time MBA student Vesa Jauhiainen and a member of the winning group said of the experience “Despite having worked for years in different teams, the week showed me that there is always something new to learn in teamwork. After a disappointment mid-week, we changed our mindset to ensure we worked hard but had fun at the same time.” Jury member Dr. Gerald Schönbucher, CEO of real,- Digital Services GmbH, addressed the students saying “You all chose a great university to study at – the entrepreneurial university in Europe.” These words resonate with the entrepreneurial and creative spirit that makes up the core of WHU, and our new MBA students have certainly shown they’ve got what it takes to excel in the WHU community.