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Hult International Business School is to give $1m to Water.org to implement recommendations made by MBA students in an international case competition. Water.org is a non-profit, co-founded by Hollywood actor Matt Damon, to help provide safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries

Students from all the world’s top business schools have been invited to joint the competition, which will take place in March 2011 on Hult’s five campuses in Boston, Dubai, London, San Francisco and Shanghai. The final will be held in New York in April.

So far more than 60 teams have signed up for the competition, with some schools entering multiple teams in different locations. Each team comprises five participants, four of whom must be students - the fifth can be an alumnus of the school. Stephen Hodges, president of Hult, says he is hoping that 120 teams will participate, effectively giving Water.org 3,500 man-hours of free consultancy.

Participating teams will be given background information in January, though the precise problem will only be revealed on March 5. The teams will have six hours to come up with a proposal to deal with the issue. Each campus may be given a different problem to tackle. Because of the difficulty in travelling to one of the campuses, students in more remote locations, most notably Africa, may be able to participate online.

Although the competition will have the traditional winner, Prof Hodges says the $1m donation from Hult to Water.org could be used to fund a mixture of projects. “The whole spirit is to create solutions - everyone can contribute.”

The competition is held annually, with the $1m donation given to a different charity each year.


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