GMAC Funds $7.1 Million In New B-School Ideas

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) today (April 17) announced that it is handing out more than $7.1 million in grants to 12 organizations around the world as part of its Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Challenge. The cash will go to fund projects in technology, social responsibility and veteran access to higher education.

The biggest winner among the dozen schools is the UC-San Diego’s Rady School of Management, which is getting $1.7 million to developing a virtual collaboration world so faculty and students can work together outside of school. “Quite a few of the ideas was how do we get real experience working with people around the world,” said Allen Brandt, director of GMAC’s Management Education for Tomorrow (MET) fund. “So this grant will help someone in San Diego work with someone in Europe and China on the same case study at the same time.”

The University of Waterloo, meantime, received a grant that was almost as large as Rady’s—just under $1.7 million. The business school will use the money to build a virtual business incubator that will pair start-up entrepreneurs with MBA students around the world.

The third largest grant, $850,000, is going to the Syracuse University’s business school. Syracuse is one of three grant winners that are funding programs to help veterans transition back into the economy from military service.

Schools and organizations developed their grant proposals in response to an earlier phase of the i2i Challenge, in which individuals were invited to answer the question, “What one idea would improve graduate management education?” That phase of the program attracted more than 650 ideas from more than 60 countries that were then reduced to 20 winning ideas. In total, 17 of those 20 winning i2i concepts, which were announced in January 2011, will be implemented by the organizations that were awarded today.

The i2i Challenge was created and managed by the GMAC’s Management Education for Tomorrow (MET) Fund, a US$10 million initiative to advance business education around the world.

Twenty-five proposals from seven countries were submitted in the second round of the challenge, which ran from January to December 2011. The grantees include seven business schools and organizations in the U.S., and then one each in Canada, Spain, Italy, India and Botswana.

“The foundation of the MET Fund has been that GMAC—starting with the GMAT exam and culminating in this phase of i2i grants—should be investing in and giving back to management education and its institutions. And not just giving back, but giving back in order to move management education forward,” said David A. Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC, in a statement. “The power of these grants is in the implementation of ideas that can reshape and revitalize management education worldwide, and that acknowledge the critical role that management education plays in training and developing business leaders who can have global impact.”

Net Impact, the University of Botswana, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research will develop programs focused on social responsibility and increased opportunity, including collaboration with non-profits, a mentorship program for underprivileged children in Mumbai, and expanding access to business education resources and entrepreneurship networks in Africa.

Five of the winning proposals—from Pepperdine University, ESADE Business School, the University of Texas at Tyler, the University of Waterloo and the University of California at San Diego—are dedicated to building online, international collaboration among business school students and faculty. These include programs to create virtual campuses, classrooms and training modules.

The winning proposals from Syracuse, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the SUNY Empire State College Foundation offer plans to develop specialized coursework for veterans, integrating armed services leadership experience into the development of business management skills. These three programs have the potential to offer important insights into the development of specialized management training programs for students with an array of career experience and qualifications.

Details of the winners follow:


1. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s S.P.Jain Institute of Management & Research (Mumbai)
Abhyudaya (“Prosperity and Development of All”)
June 2012-May 2015

Abhyudaya is a year-long program through which the first year MBA students at the S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR) mentor underprivileged children in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation schools of Mumbai’s K-West Ward. The mentoring program aims to address urban poverty and foster social responsibility and character development through experiential learning among business school students. GMAC will fund the educational components of the program, which will be mandatory for all MBA candidates.

2. Net Impact (San Francisco)
Projects for Good
April 2012-June 2014

Net Impact, an international network of top graduate business schools, undergraduate campuses and professionals, will create a virtual marketplace that matches non-profit organizations in need of innovative ideas and business solutions with teams of interested MBA students. Projects for Good will provide students with real-world learning opportunities that cultivate ethical leadership and experience using their business skills to advance solutions to social challenges. Net Impact currently supports students on over 25 campuses who undertake projects such as developing a fundraising strategy for a local Habitat for Humanity or a web implementation strategy for a local Humane Society. Funding from GMAC will enable us to scale an existing program to 100s of business schools.