Tuck Team Wins Global Universities Challenge

A team of five Tuck students took top honors in the Global Universities Challenge at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

A team of five Tuck students has just won the Shaping Future Governments: Global Universities Challenge at the World Government Summit (WGS) in Dubai, overcoming teams from the Harvard Kennedy School, Wharton, London Business School, and 15 other elite MBA and public policy institutions.

The WGS is billed as the “largest global platform dedicated to exploring the future of government driven by technological advances and evolving citizen expectation,” and brings together more than 4,000 leaders and thinkers from 125 countries to advance sustainable development goals around the world. Keynote speakers included Managing Director of the IMF Christine Lagarde, American economist Paul Krugman, American economist Jeff Sachs, former President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, and President of Rwanda Paul Kagame.

This is the second year Tuck students have attended the summit, but the first time the school has been invited to participate in the elite Global Universities Challenge

This is the second year Tuck students have attended the summit, but the first time the school has been invited to participate in the elite Global Universities Challenge, a competition within the WGS that tasks participating student teams with crafting quick and creative solutions to global problems. This year, the teams had two days to come up with a 10-year strategy for the sustainable development of the fictional war-torn country of Urmania.

Travis Cyphers T’19—a member of the Tuck team that included Tolu Kehinde T’19, Maria Barragan Santana T’20, Melina Sanchez Montanes T’20, and Alen Amini T’18—gave a five-minute presentation of their strategy to a panel of judges that contained high-level officials from the Emirati government including the Middle East CEO of Societe Generale and Facebook’s head of Public Policy for Europe and the Middle East. They proposed to improve Urmania in three youth-driven phases: (1) stabilizing the country through developing the rule of law, integrating the economy with global markets, and improving social wellbeing; (2) connecting youth, communities and the economy through technology; and (3) transforming Urmania with radical transparency and public-private partnerships.

The judges deemed this presentation, which was accompanied by a PowerPoint deck, the best of the competition, based on the following criteria: novelty and innovation (40%), impact and comprehensiveness (25%), viability and feasibility (20%), and presentation (15%). The Tuck team accepted their award on stage in front of thousands of Summit participants, posing for a photo with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.

Other members of the Tuck delegation to the WGS included faculty adviser John McKinley, executive director of the Center for Business, Government and Society, and students Chris Ramos T’19, Elizabeth Davis T’20, and Hudson Leung T’19.

Prospective students interested in the WGS can look forward to more opportunities like this, as the Center for Business, Government and Society will continue to support Tuck’s participation at future World Government Summits.

Jamie Mittelman T’19 attended the WGS last year and served as the lead for this year’s cohort. “I think this win is really fantastic on a number of fronts,” she says. “This win will help continue to grow Tuck’s relationship with the WGS organization, and it’s a credit to the quality of the education we get here at Tuck.”

What a terrific example of how wise leadership is about asking the right questions, building the right teams, and taking the right risks.

Dean Matthew Slaughter was equally excited about Tuck’s performance at the Summit. “What a terrific example of how wise leadership is about asking the right questions, building the right teams, and taking the right risks—and winning, too!" he says.

Prospective students interested in the WGS can look forward to more opportunities like this, as the Center for Business, Government and Society will continue to support Tuck’s participation at future World Government Summits.