Weatherhead Students Soar Into 3rd Place in Global Innovation Challenge
The Weatherhead School of Management is very proud to announce that a team of our students placed 3rd in the Third Annual Thunderbird Innovation Challenge! This is the second year in a row that Weatherhead has made it into the qualifying round.
The Thunderbird International Innovation Challenge has grown to be the world’s largest academic innovation competition since it began in 2003. Teams from MBA programs across the world compete by recommending solutions to business problems for the sponsoring companies. This year, the challenge sponsors were Hilton, United States Postal Service, IBM, American Express, and BillMatrix.
In the first round, the Weatherhead team submitted an innovative process incorporating next generation technologies to increase business for American Express. The team was one of 10 selected to advance to the final round from among 321 teams representing 83 business schools from 18 countries worldwide.
The final round was held November 17-19 at Thunderbird business school in Phoenix, Arizona. Participating in the final round were teams from top business schools including Harvard, Cornell, and MIT. For the Innovation Challenge finals, the Weatherhead team presented two concepts for solving problems for the USPS and Hilton. From the top ten, the Weatherhead team was named the third most innovative MBA team in the world.
The Weatherhead team was made up of the following 4 students:
- Heidi Mullett Carrion from Avon, OH, completing her MBA with a marketing concentration. She has focused on marketing strategy during her MBA, with projects for Delta Systems (Streetsboro) and the University Hospitals of Cleveland. Heidi would like to enter consumer products marketing. Prior to attending Weatherhead, she worked as a product development chemist for five years with Bath & Body Works and a start-up company in Columbus.
“We each brought different strengths and backgrounds to the group, and our final ideas and presentations were better than any of us could have accomplished on our own. By brainstorming and looking at ideas from all sides, we put together creative concepts that were both strategically and financially viable, " Heidi says.
- Esben Lund-Hansen, an exchange student at Weatherhead visiting from the Copenhagen Business School. Prior to returning to school, he did marketing for an e-commerce company in Denmark. He has been studying Human Resources Management.
- Elliot Reed, a dual JD/MBA stduent and currently the general manager of VasoLux MicroSystems, LLC, a start-up diagnostic medical imaging company. During his MBA, he has concentrated on Finance and Bioscience Entrepreneurship, and completed a business development internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2004. This was Reed’s second Innovation Challenge competition, following a finish in the top five in 2004.
Says Reed of the experience: "The impact of the Innovation Challenge cannot be overstated. The next generation of global leaders will require the ability to see the coming challenges and present innovative solutions to overcome them. Normal coursework cannot replicate the skills a contestant will acquire during this challenge—we now know how to innovate solutions to complex problems.”
- Jannick Thomsen, an equity researcher for the largest Nordic bank, Enskilda Securities, in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is an exchange student at Weatherhead this semester, visiting from the Copenhagen Business School, where he is pursuing a Masters in Finance and Accounting.