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One week, one case and twenty teams competed this year to find the best solution for the problem at hand: how to come up with an innovative and sustainable business plan to help the non-profit American Cancer Society CAN (Cancer Action Network) attract, engage and retain the next generation of volunteers.
Our team was a very diverse one: 4 different people, in different study years, with different focuses and background stories to share. However, to this intense but very fun type of challenge, we were all rookies. We charged up on ambition and creativity and we proudly represented Frankfurt School in Washington DC at the McDonough Business Strategy Challenge!
Once we arrived in Washington DC, we got a little insight into the competition by sight-seeing and networking with the participating teams. “Washington is a city full of history pictured in monuments and statues; let it be the Lincoln Memorial, the White House or the Capitol. After our little sight-seeing tour it was time to meet our competitors. During the meet and greet Welcome dinner at Georgetown University, we had the chance to not only meet the other participants but also to talk to and network with representatives from companies that sponsored the event. We met a lot of interesting people and got a first insight into the competition”, shares Lara delighted.
Once the big challenge began, so did our high-intensity conversion into business strategists and consultants. Information was limited, so we had to think outside the box: “In the following 36 hours we were trying to understand the whole business and strategy behind the American Cancer Society and to come up with a presentation of our approach on how to attract more volunteers. The next two days consisted of many ideas, lots of discussions, pizza and coke and not much sleep… but we did it! We came up with a result that we were highly motivated to present to the judges, followed by a Q&A session to our recommendations.” – Lara Lorenz
As such, we presented our agenda in front of the jury, capturing their attention and stimulating a productive Q&A that followed. The competition was skillful and harsh and our team did not make it to the final round, but we couldn’t be melancholic; learning to take charge and to collaborate, understanding and challenging the non-profit model and, nevertheless, working towards the best version of our ideas – we couldn’t have wished for more memorable experience.
“While I knew DC pretty well already, I still enjoyed getting to know lots of people from all over the world and I was genuinely impressed and inspired by how intensively some teams had prepared themselves for this competition. The accompanying presentations from professionals in the area of policy advocacy and the significance of the case itself also surprised me in a positive way. It was interesting having a highly relevant case from a very large advocacy group and while there was much work to be done, it was also a lot of fun finding good solutions together with the Frankfurt School team.” – Lennart Offeney
Find out more about Frankfurt School team’s experience in Washington on YouTube: