UW News

March 29, 2005

Continents, colleges converge at UW Global Business Challenge

Mitja Gorenak was born on the day the torch for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo was carried through his birth city, Celje. Next week, in a more cerebral kind of international competition, Gorenak and his teammates representing Slovenia’s University of Ljubljana will have the chance to secure a victory of Olympic proportions in academic circles at the University of Washington Business School’s seventh annual Global Business Challenge case competition.

Slovenia will face formidable competition from undergraduates from 13 other countries who will gather in Seattle April 4-9 to apply the skills and theories acquired in their coursework to a real-world business case study.

The Global Business Challenge will include 16 teams of four undergraduates each from Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia and three American business schools, including the UW. The four-person teams will arrive in Seattle next Monday and in the days preceding the competition, will tour the city and UW campus. They also will visit local companies and share their respective cultures and international business knowledge with students at Seattle’s Hamilton Middle School.

On April 7, each team will be given a business case — a problem scenario for which they must develop a solution within 48 hours — and then present their conclusions to a panel of corporate judges. Teams will be judged on quality, creativity and professionalism in presenting their analysis of the business problem. Final rounds will be held April 9 between 1:45 and 5 p.m. in Mary Gates Hall on the UW campus and are open to the public. The winning team will be announced at an awards banquet that evening.

Pete Dukes, associate dean for undergraduate programs at the UW Business School, says the case study written specifically for this competition is multidisciplinary and multinational and requires students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to an authentic corporate dilemma.

“It’s a fantastic global learning opportunity, not only for the competing teams, but also for the student organizers,” Dukes says. “The diversity of this year’s competitors takes the learning to a whole new level. Every participant will end the week with new knowledge, skills and an incredible worldwide network of peer contacts.”

Organizers believe students’ abilities to analyze the problem, then develop and present the solution as a team before a panel of judges is as much a test of their academic fitness as of their ability to perform in a professional — albeit sleep-deprived — state intended to mimic real-life circumstances.

Gorenak says that in order to perform in top condition, his Slovenian team has been warming up for the event for quite a while.

“We have studied cases that were given at previous Global Business Challenges and have pored over a lot of other similar material,” he says, “and every weekend we get together and work on one case that we present to our mentors.”

The Global Business Challenge is produced and supported by the school’s Global Business Center and students in the nationally-ranked Certificate of International Studies in Business program. New Zealand’s University of Auckland Business School won last year’s competition and will return to defend its title. Since its inception, 72 business schools from 38 countries and 12 states have participated in this event.

Event sponsors include Boeing Co., Costco Wholesale, EDS Corporation, Essential Security, Expeditors, Ford Motor Co., Microsoft, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Washington First International Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.

Global Business Challenge 2005 participating schools:


BRAC University, Bangladesh

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan

Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

University of Auckland, New Zealand

Europe/Middle East

Euromed Marseille Ecole de Management, France

European Business School, Germany

Kuwait University, Kuwait

Slobomir University, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Universiteit Maastricht, Netherlands

University of Balamand, Lebanon

University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

North/South America

Concordia University, Canada

Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico

University of California, Berkeley

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

University of Washington


For more information contact Dukes at (206) 543-7141 or rdukes@u.washington.edu or visit