Darden Students Win Award in Global Management Challenge National Final

28 March 2012

A team of students from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business won third place at the Global Management Challenge USA National Final, held at the New York Stock Exchange. Conceptualized in 1980 in Portugal, the management simulation competition took place in the United States for the first time, and the U.S. finalists will compete in the international final in Kiev, Ukraine, in April.

The Darden student team, comprised of First Year students Pedro Simoes, Volodymyr Lob, Marek Benko, Borja Pastor and Manuel de Soto, won a spot in the finals after playing the first round online. In that round, 28 corporate and business school teams competed in four groups. Self-named “In Varietate Concordia,” the team ranked first in its group, and Simoes, Lob and Benko travelled to represent Darden in the national finals in New York.

The students chose their team’s name, Latin for “Unity in Diversity,” as a representation of their approach to the challenge. “‘Diversity’ because we came from four different European countries and wanted to leverage our diversity in order to develop a solid strategy,” explained Pedro Simoes. “‘Unity’ because we wanted to be very disciplined in the execution. And that is exactly what happened.”

In the competition, each team ran a virtual company. Provided with a company manual, history and management reports, the teams outlined corporate strategies, made decisions regarding marketing, sales, production, human resources and finance, and submitted those decisions to the jury. In return, they received a management report, complete with detailed results in financial and operational terms. The decisions of each team influenced the virtual market’s reaction, and thus the behaviors of competing teams in subsequent rounds. With five rounds, the challenge represented a year and a quarter of the company’s activity. The objective was to finish with the highest company share price.

Strategy was crucial, and “In Varietate Concordia” came to a conclusion: “In the beginning of the game, we should focus on our long-term competitive advantages, and in the end of the game, we should focus on optimizing short-term results and on making the organization as lean as possible,” Simoes disclosed. “With such a clear direction right from the beginning of the game, we were able to focus solely on execution during the limited time we had to make each decision.”

Those tactics worked well, and the team was honored with third place. With first place awarded to a corporate team, this was the second highest placing for a student team. The experience was a valuable one, and as Simoes summarized, “It provides a great opportunity to test general management knowledge and team working skills.”

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia