Business School Reforms Get the Green Light

Photograph by Don Farrall/Digital Vision

A B-school mentoring program in Mumbai, an executive MBA in Kenya, and degree programs for military veterans are just some of the projects that received $7.1 million in funding from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) this week.

The grants were the culmination of a contest—the Ideas to Innovation Challenge, launched in 2010—that asked the business school community and the business world for ways to improve management education. Last January, GMAC, the Reston (Va.)-based group that administers the GMAT exam, awarded $262,500 in cash prizes to 20 of the most promising ideas.

For the next phase of the contest, GMAC posed a different challenge to business schools: come up with ways to put some of these concepts into action on their campus. In exchange, GMAC would provide schools and organizations with funding from the group’s $10 million Management Education for Tomorrow Fund. GMAC received 25 proposals from business schools and organizations in seven countries; of these, a dozen were selected to receive $7.1 million each in grants.

The 12 winning ideas come from business schools and organizations in the U.S., Canada, Spain, Italy, India, and Botswana, including Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management, India’s S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, and Spain’s ESADE Business School. The ideas have the potential to “reshape and revitalize management education worldwide,” said GMAC President and Chief Executive Officer David Wilson in a press release.

Here’s a peek at a few of the more intriguing winning proposals:

Net Impact: The nonprofit, an international network of sustainability-minded student leaders and professionals, will use GMAC funding to launch a virtual marketplace this year called Projects for Good. It will match nonprofits looking for innovative business ideas with teams of MBA students across the country. Net Impact already does work like this on about 25 B-school campuses, but the GMAC funding will enable the group to expand the program to hundreds of schools, the organization said.

University of California at San Diego: The Rady School of Management, a young and ambitious business school that will soon be approaching its 10th anniversary, has a plan to create a virtual campus that will allow collaboration across graduate management programs internationally. Students who use the site will participate in an “online, interactive environment” where they can receive coaching, attend seminars, and join group activities, the school said. The Rady School will use GMAC funds to build the online campus and will eventually market the platform to universities around the world.

SUNY Empire State College: This business school in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., will use GMAC funds to create a program it says will ease the transition for veterans who are reentering civilian life and the business world. The school aims to convert some of the veterans’ military training into course credits, which can then be applied to an MBA degree. This will reduce the time and tuition for veterans enrolled in MBA programs, the school said. The school also plans to replace a traditional introductory MBA course with one specifically geared toward veterans and some of the unique challenges they face.

To see the full list of the 12 winning entries, click here. Which ones do you think have the most potential to improve management education?

Join the discussion on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Forum, visit us on Facebook, and follow @BWbschools on Twitter.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.