The Future Leaders Fundraising challenge, now in its fourth year, commences with each new intake of MBA students. This time successfully raising money for the charity Welthungerhilfe, with funds totalling €12,674.06.
At the beginning of April 2019, WHU Campus Düsseldorf opened its doors to the spring intake of Full-Time MBA students, and kicked off the first week of the program with a bang. Ensuring the new batch begin their studies thinking as entrepreneurs, the students found themselves starting the week with the energetic and experiential Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge. From April 1 – 5, the MBA students faced five daily competitive challenges in support of Welthungerhilfe, led by Professor Dr. Nadine Kammerlander.
The bi-annual challenge is a unique concept originally designed in 2016 to help provide students with ‘out of the box’ leadership experience as well as strategic and entrepreneurial skills that are valuable throughout and beyond their studies. Over the course of five days, the students form teams, create a brand, design and produce a product, finally taking to the streets of Düsseldorf and Cologne to distribute their product to the public. Each day brings a new challenge, a new team member taking the lead, and a variety of tasks as the teams compete.
The daily schedule, although packed, included insightful knowledge and training with workshops to help hone their strategy, marketing, and design skills. A board of experts provided insights such as developing a digital strategy with Gerald Schönbucher, CEO of real.digital; how to create online campaigns with Anke Herbener, CEO and Founder of Digital Changers GmbH; and how to approach corporate donors with Jane Joo Park, Vice President of Global Philanthropic Europe. With hands-on mentoring and comprehensive feedback every day, students assessed their own performance and that of their peers as the week progressed. On the final day of the challenge, four short-listed teams had the opportunity to practice their pitch skills by negotiating a corporate donation face-to-face with Mr. Jean-Jean Johannes Kim, Chief HR Officer of ThyssenKrupp Elevator AG.
Each year the students receive a different topic or theme, with this year’s challenge focused on raising awareness of and funds for the Welthungerhilfe Burundi school meals campaign. Using digital and physical tools – this year in the form of postcards – the teams were tasked with maximizing fundraising through their final product. The winning team were ‘Happy Belly’, formed by students Eduarda Castro, Yaser Khan, and Yu-Jia (Yulissa) Wu. Their innovative winning idea was a postcard that the donor could acquire as a ‘thank you’ for donating in someone else’s name - this person would then receive the postcard. Thus, the product became more than simply a postcard and doubled the reach of their campaign.
As is tradition, the week ended with a celebratory reception and awards ceremony, along with the presentation of a cheque totaling an incredible €12,674.06, presented to Welthungerhilfe. This translates into over 50,000 nutritious and holistically-sourced school meals provided for the project in Burundi, Africa. Since the inception of the Future Leaders Fundraising Challenge in 2016, MBA students have raised approximately €210,000 in total.
An exciting end to the week but a thrilling start to the program, with the new students already demonstrating the strategic vision, leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit that is vital to the high-achieving potential of the WHU MBA.