Darden Teams Make Innovation Challenge Finals

November 07, 2007

Nov. 6, 2007 — Two student teams from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business have reached the finals of the Innovation Challenge business competition and will compete with eight other finalists Nov. 16-17 at Darden for the title of “Most Innovative MBA Team in the World.”

The first round included 287 teams from 63 school worldwide. Darden fielded 33 teams. Only those in the top 10 compete in the finals. Darden placed seven teams in the top 30, more than any other school.

Darden’s “Column 5” team is working on a project for Lexmark as part of the competition. The Column 5 team consists of team leader Michael O'Brien, Sarah Glass, Gail Ballantyne and Piyush Parikh.

Darden’s “High Octane” team is working on a business solution for Shell. The High Octane members are team leader Natalia Postrigan, Rahul Prabhu, Alex Steblev and Amandeep Randhawa.

Produced by Idea Crossing, a company that spurs innovation through idea competitions, The Innovation Challenge is the largest competition of its kind in the world, uniting hundreds of teams from the top 100 MBA programs worldwide with some of the biggest global brands in a ground-breaking experience designed to solve real-world business challenges. Prizes include $30,000 cash.

This is the second year the Darden School of Business has hosted the competition on Grounds. Darden’s Batten Institute, a think-tank for innovation and entrepreneurship, crafted a series of podcasts to help students prepare for the competition, with input from Philippe Sommer, director of entrepreneurship programs for the institute.

In addition to the two Darden teams, finalists include a team from IIM in Indore, India, two teams from the Indian School of Business, the London Business School, UK; The University of California at Berkeley (Haas), University of Denver (Daniels), and two teams from Kenan-Flager at the University of North Carolina.

Founded in 1955, U.Va.’s Darden School of Business is a professional school that works to improve society by developing leaders in the world of practical affairs.