16 February 2011

Congratulations to Orsolya Szabo, from the January 2011 Part-time intake, on her outstanding achievement in the recent Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Challenge organized by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

More than 650 people from 60 countries entered the competition, which called for ideas to creatively change management education. Orsolya, of Hungarian origin, submitted a proposal advocating the use of assessment centers and other novel procedures in the MBA admissions process and was third place winner, receiving US$10,000.

The i2i Challenge is a major component of the GMAC Management Education for Tomorrow
(MET) Fund, a US$10 million initiative to advance business education around the world. GMAC plans to invest a substantial portion of the MET Fund in the implementation of one or more of the winning ideas.

Orsolya tells us about her experience :

Summary of my idea

Business schools need to catch up with best-in-class corporations regarding their selection processes. Particularly, the assessment of social skills – including collaboration, influencing and leadership –business scenarios and group simulation exercises could add great value, as social competencies are overshadowed by test results in the current practice despite their essential role in business. Furthermore, the (partial) substitution of essays by other self-presentation formats, such as slide-shows, posters, films, cartoons, etc., would allow candidates to show multiple aspects of their talents providing business schools with a more comprehensive picture on candidates’ capabilities.

How and why I entered

In August 2010, I received an e-mail from mba.com inviting participants from all over the world to their Ideas to Innovation Challenge – an idea contest about “What one idea would improve graduate management education?” It happened just after I got admitted to the HEC Paris MBA program. I immediately decided that I would definitely enter the contest. First of all, it seemed to be an excellent opportunity to communicate my ideas and impressions for the enhancement of business education. Such occasions are rare! Secondly, the contest offered a possibility to help finance my MBA studies.

The background to my idea

Browsing through the major themes given by GMAC, I quickly recognized that my first-hand experience was very limited regarding the education itself, as I not started the program yet. At that point, however, I already had experience of the admissions process. Working for an executive search company also gave me the advantage of having relevant insight into the selection processes of best-in-class organizations including the favorite target companies of MBA graduates. Although originally I had three ideas in mind (and could enter only one idea), I decided to focus on the admission process, as I thought that the “extra” experience stemming from my professional background would make it sound more credible.

Connection to HEC Paris

On my first day at HEC Paris, Professor Bernard Ramanantsoa – HEC Paris Dean, and Professor Bernard Garrette – HEC MBA Associate Dean, welcomed us with an introduction about the HEC Paris MBA program and its key building blocks. They both emphasized the program’s major focus on building soft-skills besides acquiring knowledge about the most important business specialties. Exactly the same philosophy lies in the core of my winning idea. Social skills are highly important in business, thus business schools should devote considerable attention to them throughout the entire education process, from admission to graduation. It is very inspiring to be part of a community that shares these ideas and helps me master these skills.”

The Part-Time MBA option links participant’s academic curriculum and professional activity. Custom designed for managers between the ages of 25 to 35, the program allows participants to continue their Full-Time professional activities while developing skills to boost their career to an international management level.


  1. 1.

    This is really nice and informative post. Being a Bachelor student I learnt much more from this post about MBA, thanks for sharing this post with us.

  2. 2.

    Congratulations MBA student for your GMAC prize – really nice post. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  3. 3.

    Congratulations – keep carrying on this effort and make popular name of your and your Organization, nice post..

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