2020 Fast Track Innovation Award Announcement

2020 Fast Track Curriculum Innovation Award Winners

The MBA Roundtable is pleased to announce the winners for the 2020 Fast Track Curriculum Innovation Award.  Sponsored by BusinessCAS, The Fast Track Curriculum Innovation Award was broken out into three award categories and the winners and their winning curriculum innovations are as follows:

Curriculum Content Winner:

Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
Strategic Consulting Practicum:  COVID-19 Response Team

Curriculum Delivery Winner:

Sydney Business School University of Wollongong
Embedding an Aboriginal perspective in the MBA Curriculum during the COVID-19 lockdown period​

Other Innovation Winner:

University of Maryland Robert H Smith School of Business
Impact Consulting Fellowship
The Fast Track Curriculum Innovation Award was created in response to the recent pandemic, where many MBA programs have put together creative solutions to delivering their programs and curriculum.  The MBA Roundtable introduced this new award to recognize and reward MBA programs for their ingenuity and resourcefulness in continuing to deliver world-class graduate business education curriculum to their students in this time of incredible turmoil and change.  The Fast Track Award is an exciting compliment to the MBA Roundtable’s biennial Innovator Award. 

The MBA Roundtable Innovator Award was created in 2011 to promote educational initiatives that advance innovation in MBA education and acknowledge the institutions that drive change in the field.  The Innovator Award raises awareness of ongoing continuous curricular and co-curricular improvements and educates employers, business school leaders, and faculty about innovative practices of best-in-class MBA programs.  For 2019, the Innovator Award was split into two categories, allowing the MBA Roundtable to honor established innovations as well as new, early stage innovations.  Submissions for the next Innovator Award will open in March 2021.
Fast Track Curriculum Innovation Award Winners were evaluated on the following criteria:
  • Level of creativity and uniqueness of the solution
  • Implementation speed and innovation
  • Resourcefulness (use of existing tools, resources within limited budgetary constraints (i.e. not just buying a new solution))
  • Impact (Student engagement and response/AOL)
  • Engagement and partnership across faculty, staff, administration and student
  • Repeatability/Scalability Initiatives
The 2020 Fast Track Curriculum Innovation Award Finalists were as follows:
Curriculum Content Finalist:
Lehigh University College of Business
One Year MBA Consulting Practicum

Curriculum Delivery Finalists:
Hamline University School of Business
MBA Capstone

Leeds School of Business University of Colorado Boulder
Using PlayPosit to Improve Learning

Other Innovation Finalists:
University at Buffalo School of Management
Nonprofit Board Fellowship Program - A Pandemic Evolution

The University of Arizona Eller MBA
Eller Professional Development Institute
About the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School - Strategic Consulting Practicum: COVID-19 Response Team:
Dr. Rick Milter’s Strategy Consulting Practicum: COVID-19 Response Team course for Summer 2020 was proactively developed to immediately help small businesses pivot, think creatively, and reimagine their business plans in the wake of the global pandemic and its catastrophic economic fallout.  Johns Hopkins Carey Business School plans to continue this momentum in its Spring 2021 Strategy Consulting Practicum: COVID-19 Business Re-Entry Team course, helping businesses develop sustainable practices during the pandemic and map out their re-entry plans as COVID-19 restrictions are gradually lifted.

This eight-week course paired students with Baltimore small businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, service, and food and beverage industries. Students identified and navigated resources, adapted products and services to best reach the consumer, and created business plans that prepared these companies for the uncertainty of the coming months.  Without the advantage of meeting one another in person, faculty created enhanced virtual opportunities for the students to get to know each other and to better understand these businesses’ needs through a series of introduction sessions prior to the start of class. Given the deluge of new information about COVID-19 being discovered each day, faculty redesigned the strategic consulting curriculum to be COVID-specific. In addition to customizing the course materials to address the unique consulting challenges of the pandemic, faculty posted “hot off the press” COVID-19 news articles and reports in Blackboard daily that were central to the class discussion. To identify area businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, Carey partnered with the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC). The BDC sent out a COVID-specific survey to its members and received over 600 responses. Based on these responses, a BDC representative then connected Carey to seven local business owners who needed to quickly pivot or significantly alter their business operations.

A business school is a professional school and should provide opportunities for its students to get involved as professionals in the field.  Imagine what would happen if our medical schools did not require students to spend time in hospitals. Not only can more be learned via such applied practice, but organizations can become more healthy via engagement with students bringing fresh perspectives under the guidance of experienced faculty.”
– Rick G. Milter, PhD, Faculty for the Strategy Consulting Practicum: COVID-19 Response Team course
Carey developed the COVID-19 Response Team experiential learning course through a collaboration between faculty, the Office of Experiential Learning, The Baltimore Development Corporation, local businesses, and students. Having adaptive, experienced faculty willing to explore new project partnerships and content within their courses, an engaged network of community business partners, and a student body eager for practical experience and impact enabled the school to quickly put in place a dynamic course for Carey students. Strong relationships and flexibility were key in successfully delivering this opportunity, benefitting both learning and community outcomes.”
– Dan W. Sheats, Director of Curricular Experiential Learning

About the Sydney Business School University of Wollongong’s Embedding an Aboriginal perspective in the MBA Curriculum during the COVID-19 lockdown period:
One of the highlights of the MBA at the University of Wollongong is a day with an Aboriginal Leader to explore Aboriginal approaches to Leadership, Sustainability and Decision-making. In 2020 instead of leaving the classroom to spend time at significant Aboriginal sites, they had to very quickly work out how to create meaningful experiences for their students, coming together remotely though Zoom. 

Jade Kennedy, a local Aboriginal Leader, recorded a series of short videos in which, surrounded by beautiful countryside, he explained key concepts relating to Aboriginal ways of being. He asked the students each to choose an artefact representing one of these concepts and to bring that artefact to the Zoom session.  The Zoom sessions replicated the Aboriginal tradition of a ‘yarning circle’ where people listen and speak from the heart.  As they progressed from one circle to the next, students shared their artefacts and explored how the concepts applied in their own culture and life. Many reflected that in these sessions, they developed deeper connections to each other and to their own culture than in any other class.

In 2020 we have all got used to virtual meetings and virtual classes. Sometimes virtual events lack that touch of humanity that comes with a face-to-face meeting. However Jade Kennedy managed to create an authentic online experience that inspired our students, both local and international, to respect and learn more about Aboriginal ways of life. It was a privilege to take part in the day with Jade and our students from around the world.” – Professor Grace McCarthy, Head of School – School of Management and Marketing, University of Wollongong.
About the University of Maryland Robert H Smith School of Business Impact Consulting Fellowship:
Due to COVID-19, the Center for Social Value Creation wanted to give students the opportunity to challenge themselves and strengthen their consultant skills during unprecedented times. The Impact Consulting Fellowship was comprised of 145 students in 23 teams of two Masters students and three undergraduate students. Each team was placed with a University of Maryland Alumni consulting advisor to give over 12,000 hours of pro-bono consulting. The Impact Consulting Fellowship was a tremendous opportunity for students. A handbook was created because they wanted this opportunity to be scaled for impact driven students at other institutions.  To learn more about the Impact Consulting Fellowship click here.
Thanks to our Fast Track Curriculum Innovation Award Sponsor: