IEU Experience


Every year, IE University organizes the BBA Business Plan Challenge. The competition welcomes 44 business students from ten countries, selected for their high academic profile. The task? To resolve business cases before a jury of academics and industry experts.

This edition saw students from Russia, Canada, Norway, Holland, Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Ecuador, Germany, and Spain. In addition to IE University, the students represented prestigious schools such as the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Western University Ivey Business School in Canada, BI Norwegian Business School in Norway, Rotterdam School of Management in Holland, The University of Melbourne in Australia, Lund University School of Economics and Management in Sweden, and the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington in the US.

For the past few months, our management team has worked tirelessly to put together an event that exceeds students’ expectations. We chose eleven of the best universities around the world to participate in an exciting three-day challenge divided between Madrid and Segovia—the best of both worlds for visitors to Spain.

So how does it work? Each day, students are given a new, real case with a real company, so when they present the solution, they’re not only presenting it to faculty members, but also to a company representative and an industry expert. This ups the stakes for participants, who are already under a certain pressure since they’re competing against students from other top universities under a time constraint. Teams are given four hours per daily case, with the exception of the final, longer case, which they get 24 hours to resolve.

This challenge is an incredible opportunity for students. But it’s also a way to give some visibility to IE University’s world-class undergraduate programs. An event with such international presence draws attention to all that the university has to offer—especially the Bachelor in Business Administration, which was just named the most international business program in the world.

All participants impressed us with their innovative solutions. The winners of this year’s BBA Business Plan Challenge are as follows:

1st place: Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University – Rotterdam, The Netherlands

2nd place: BI Norwegian Business School – Oslo, Norway

Camaraderie Award: University of Melbourne – Melbourne, Australia

“The second edition of the BBA Business Challenge has been a great accomplishment for the business school,” says Martin Boehm, Dean of IE Business School. “This tradition will continue carrying on every February and offer students the possibility to interact with schools from around the world through a week of business-case solving and networking. We are thrilled to host the competition and cannot wait for the third edition.”

Marc Smelik, Associate Dean of the Bachelor in Business Administration, weighed in with his thoughts as well.

“At IE University, we love the combination of international teamwork, learning while competing, and analyzing sustainable business solutions. It’s our central purpose—to create a better world through collaboration across dimensions of cultures, industries, and disciplines. The competition is one great way to contribute to the positive development of bachelor students. By analyzing and debating tricky challenges, we learn to think and we learn to persuade.”

The next edition of the BBA Business Plan Challenge is scheduled for February 2021.