Columbia Students Launch MBA Odyssey

Columbia Business School wants up-and-coming world leaders to connect with peers and Fortune 500 business magnates through the launch of ODYSSEY, a competition between students from the top 15 MBA programs around the world.

Held at Columbia March 27-28, 2009, ODYSSEY 15 students come from seven countries and will face off in a triathlon of online business management games that will also give participants access to a symposium with a roster of business leaders from the world’s top corporations.

Columbia MBA candidates Peter Novak and Mark Trayling originally envisioned the contest and together with a team of peers launched the initiative with the support of business school faculty advisors.

“ODYSSEY is a powerful forum that connects talent from the world’s top MBA programs with each other and with top business leaders, reflecting the possibilities of a global economy,” says Trayling. “Now more than ever, entrepreneurs face a variety of challenges that change on a daily basis. ODYSSEY lets the business leaders of tomorrow learn what it is like to compete with other businesses in real-time and how to emerge as the best in class.”

In order to qualify for the finals in New York, teams of five students from each school represent their respective institutions in an online simulation game involving the airline industry. Winning teams from each school will compete at Columbia’s campus in three games: The Negotiation, The Pitch and The Case. The competition will gauge the students’ expertise in a variety of areas, including finance, entrepreneurship and negotiation. The winning team will be determined through a point system, and will receive a $5,000 cash prize as well as bragging rights when they graduate from their respective MBA program.

“ODYSSEY presents students from the most influential global business institutions with the opportunity to meet a unique set of challenges that are not a part of the everyday MBA experience,” says Daniel R. Ames, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. associate professor of leadership and ethics, who advised the students leading the event. “Furthermore, the event provides a rare chance for these future leaders to cross school and national boundaries and connect with each other.”

Speakers at the ODYSSEY symposium hail from McKinsey & Company, Forbes, UBS, France Telecom ”“ Orange and NOKIAand will share their views on competitiveness and what it takes to be one of the top performers in today’s economy.

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