“Worlds Most Innovative MBA Team” and Runners-up Celebrate Their Victories
by Ringing the Bell at the New York Stock Exchange

January 27, 2012, New York, NY – VCU Brandcenter students Jennifer Clinehens, Cody Pate, Katlyn Williams and Ryan Dowling (AKA “Team Brandslam”) were crowned Champions of the 9th Annual Innovation Challenge® and received a $20,000 prize check from competition prize sponsors Skild, AT&T, GE and Syngenta.  The announcement took place live on Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange where students from the top three teams rang the closing bell, ending trading for the week.

The Innovation Challenge®, powered by competition software company, Skild, offers MBA students the opportunity to design presentations that answer questions from leading corporate sponsors.  The questions are often structured to help these companies find strategic, innovative solutions.  This year’s Innovation Challenge® questions asked students for conceptual ideas in Strategy / Business Modeling (sponsored by AT&T); Marketing (sponsored by Syngenta), and Product Development (sponsored by GE).

To claim the top spot, Team Brandslam’s submission, answering a question architected from AT&T, successfully rose above nearly 178 teams consisting of nearly 800 MBA & graduate students from over 40 universities in 25 different countries.

“Innovation Challenge was a fantastic experience; equal parts challenging, inspiring, and lots of fun. It gave us a taste of the challenges real companies face, and how open these companies are to our generation's passion, dedication, and drive,” said Jennifer Clinehens, Leader of Team Brandslam.

Second and third place teams represented Chapman University (answering GE’s question) and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (answering Syngenta’s question).  These teams split the remaining $5,000.

Because the program has been such a success with both students and corporate sponsors, Skild intends to expand the Innovation Challenge® beyond an annual event.  Look for additional competitions to be announced later this year.

About the Innovation Challenge®

The Innovation Challenge® is the world's largest and most established business innovation competition. The brightest and most creative MBA and graduate students from universities all over the globe have been matched with leading companies such as including American Express, Shell Oil, IBM and Google who have opened their doors to new ideas and fresh perspectives to real-world challenges.

Since it’s inception, the contest has garnered participation from over 8,000 students representing more than 100 of the top rated MBA programs.  These students have generated over 1,700 business plans for more than 60 sponsors.

About Skild
Offering its services for 10 years, Skild (formerly known as Idea Crossing) is a fast growing, privately held company. Skild started out in 2002 with the creation of the Innovation Challenge®, their own annual contest brand targeted at university students.  Innovation Challenge® is the largest competition of its kind in the world, which consistently unites hundreds of teams from the top 100 MBA programs with some of the biggest global brands to solve real-world business challenges.

Since 2002, Skild has helped dozens of organizations build and manage their challenge programs. Today, Skild provides all the tools and knowledge “skill-based” contest producers need to run effective awards, prizes and promotional contests. Skild’s software and expertise has attracted an impressive array of clients, consisting of next-generation technology leaders, flagship Fortune 500 companies, and some of the world’s most ambitious non-profits.

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