Case study prme a9e2ea05d5a939e15f8c314bfbf342ab9135078b32687d802fba6ce093f1e1f2

The Principles for Responsible Management Education together with Babson College

The Sustainable Development Challenge

Background

Launched in 2007, the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative is the first organised relationship between the United Nations and business schools, with the PRME Secretariat being housed in the UN Global Compact Office in New York City.

Over 600 higher academic institutions have officially committed to implement the Principles for Responsible Management Education and ~30 of them form a leadership group called PRME Champions. Nottingham University Business School, Copenhagen Business School and ESADE are just a few of the PRME Champions that work collaboratively to unlock the next level of responsible management and leadership education.

The Challenge

In spring 2015, Babson College led the PRME Sustainable Development Challenge, a video competition with the theme of “Business as a force for good.” To help generate innovative ideas about how business could help to advance the UN’s proposed Sustainable Development Goals, students were encouraged to challenge the status quo and to dream big in their visions for change.

With students and judges coming from around the globe and across different time zones, Babson/PRME had two critical requirements: first, to make it easy for students to enter the competition and to submit video essays; and second, to provide easy access to all of the competition entries so that the judges could evaluate them and cast their votes.

Experience shows that using conventional methods such as email threads or Excel spreadsheets to keep track of student teams, competition entries, judges and votes, requires a lot of energy and time, and is ultimately inefficient. At the same time, the number of entries to the competition requires a lot of manual data input and filtering, with potential for error or confusion. That is why conventional methods are an un-scalable and unreliable proposition in the context of managing student competitions.

Introducing Student Starter

Student Starter is a web platform that allows students and lecturers who work on international projects to collaborate more easily by sharing and promoting their ideas online. It is a low- maintenance, flexible, and user-friendly platform that allows individuals or institutions to host their own competitions and to manage group coursework or research proposals.

The higher education sector is becoming more and more globalised and internationally focused. This can be seen both from a cohort perspective (increased enrolment of international students) and from an institutional perspective (increased institutional collaboration through international projects and partnerships). This is partially why we are seeing an increasing number of academic projects that are international in scope and that involve many different stakeholders from across the globe.

One of the main challenges of working on globally focused projects is the task of organising and facilitating collaboration among all of the participants in order to ensure that everyone is in sync and that the desired outcome is realised. This can prove to be difficult when teams of people operate from across many different institutions and countries.

PRME, together with Babson College, recognised the challenges of organising a globally focused competition like their Sustainable Development Challenge and chose to overcome them by hosting their international competition on Student Starter.

Results

Students found it easy to submit their video essays on Student Starter and to officially enter the competition. Having a dedicated homepage with relevant information about the competition (requirements, prizes, deadline, etc.) was extremely helpful for them. And because the organisers wanted to foster a culture of transparency, projects were made public by default so that students could see all of the other competition entries.

“I thought the platform functionally worked fantastically and it was awesome to be able to view other students’ work. Seeing other students’ work definitely pushed my team to try and create the best video possible.”
Michael Brady, Student Participant, Babson College, USA

For the judges, Student Starter provided an easy way for them to evaluate all of the competition entries, to cast their votes anonymously, and to give feedback to students by commenting on the projects. Each competition entry had its own project page containing more information about the team behind it and included an embedded video (uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo).

“The Student Starter platform provided an outstandingly facilitating and friendly infrastructure for the PRME Champions Sustainable Development Challenge competition. Navigating among and through individual submissions was easy, effective and pleasant.”
Milenko Gudic, Competition Judge & Co-Facilitator of the PRME Working Group on Poverty

For the organisers, Student Starter provided a low-maintenance and flexible platform to manage the competition. Having everything in one place on Student Starter meant that it was easy to keep track of how the competition progressed, and the automated email notifications ensured that organisers were updated with every new student submission. Student Starter also facilitated the dissemination of information to all of the participants by allowing organisers to post updates on the dedicated competition homepage. And peer to peer communication was made easy by having distinct comment threads for every project submitted, giving participants the ability to interact with students directly and to ask questions.

“Student Starter is an outstanding platform: user-friendly, easy for judges and hosts to manage, inviting for students to engage with. If you are planning anything that requires a simple and engaging platform, the best you can do is to contact Student Starter—all else will follow smoothly from there.”
Elizabeth Goldberg, Professor and Competition Organiser, Babson College, USA

Student Starter helped free the organisers from the need to trail hundreds of email threads, logging information into Excel spreadsheets and manually keeping track of student teams, judges, competition entries, questions and votes—in this way, they were able to concentrate on publicising the contest and its results, rather than on dealing with logistics.

Whether it’s organising a global competition, managing student research proposals or exploring new teaching methods like business crowdfunding initiatives and video coursework, Student Starter can help. If you would like to discuss your situation or requirements, contact us.