About Us

What is The IXL Innovation Olympics?

Innovation Olympics is an eight-week action learning program that IXL Center and the Global Innovation Management Institute offer every quarter. It is a unique and practical program that challenges business school students to integrate their business knowledge and encourges the development of soft skills to solve a real innovation & growth issue for a senior executive from a company.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up:

  • Online at
  • Filling out the google form
  • You can stop by the IXL Center office in Cambridge and sign up in person

By when do I need to sign up?

You can find the dates updated on the website. We will be receiving applications for each cycle up to 2 weeks prior to the kick-off. Never the less, the sooner you sign up the higher the chances you will have for being selected.

Do I have to pay to participate?

No registration or participation fee required.

How can I become an Innovation Olympics Ambassador?

Apply online via, or email our Ambassador Program coordinator

How do I refer a company that is interested in sponsoring an Innovation Olympics challenge?

Discuss with your mentor who the potential client is and your mentor will provide guidance on how to move forward. Ask to be connected with the internal sales team.

Can I participate again in the Innovation Olympics program?

Yes you can! There is no limit, you can apply to participate multiple times. However, you aren’t guaranteed the slot every time.


What are the requirements to participate?

  • Team must have 4 to 6 members
  • Need to sign up with a faculty mentor
  • Each member has a minimum of 2 years of work experience. (Consulting experience not mandatory but beneficial)
  • Each member has a Masters or PhD
  • Team members are students or alumni of the same university
  • At least 3 team members need to attend all client meetings
  • At least 2 members need to attend weekly mentor sessions
  • 1 team member needs to register the team
  • Multiple teams from same university can apply

Can I apply individually and be allocated to a team?

We will help you make your team. We can provide you with marketing materials as well as give you tips like contacting the consulting club to help make it happen. If all fails you can still fill out a different application as an individual: We will do our best to help you join a team.

How much time will I have to allocate for participating in the program?

Depending on the project and time management skills of team members, you might have to allocate anything from 6 to 12 hours a week per person.

Based on what criteria are teams selected?

Teams are selected depending on the client needs and student experience. We encourage diversity among chosen teams. Diversity includes:

  • Different academic backgrounds
  • Work experience
  • Nationality
  • Location

If I am an undergraduate student, can I participate?

This program is designed for MBA and Ph.D. students, and therefore those teams are selected as a priority. Regardless, if you are incredibly interested and you have an outstanding resume, GPA, recommendation letter, faculty advisor and other team members that are from an MBA or Ph.D. program, please apply, and your application will be evaluated

Do I need to have consulting academic or professional experience to be part of the program?

No, we encourage all academic backgrounds and experiences to form part of the program. You will learn in parallel the innovation methodology via our partner Global Innovation Management Institute that will provide you with the necessary tools and skills to participate in the program

If I don't study business, can I sign up?

Sure! Sometimes your professional background is even more appreciated; it offers more insights into a helpful topic or profession.


Which companies could I work with?

Work with Fortune 500 companies, such as: Verizon,CMI Food,Capital Area Food Bank,Emirates NBD,Sanofi, Airbus,etc.

Can I choose my client?

Unfortunately no, client/sponsor assignments are done based on client needs.

How much interaction will I have with the client?

You will interact with clients during:

  • Kick-off, where you will be able to ask questions
  • Presentations every 2 weeks and ask for feedback during those sessions
  • Q&A sessions with clients.
All other communication is done through the IXL Center mentor


Can I participate if I am not going to be in the Boston area?

Participation can be done in-person here in Boston, or virtually.

Why I should participate? Student benefits

  • Work and meet with senior executives to crack the business challenge
  • Add this as work experience on your resume
  • Learn a world-class methodology to develop a business case
  • Receive a professional certification from the Global Innovation Management Institute (GIMI)
  • Be included in GIMI's globally distributed resume book
  • Development of soft skills and hands-on skills
  • Have fun and get bragging rights for being the winner
  • Win $4,000 for 1st, or $2,000 for 2nd place


What are some of the challenges the teams have worked on in the past?

  • VERIZON, telecommunications: identifying multi-billion dollar growth opportunities at the intersection of telecommunications and other industries
  • 3M, Industrial, safety & consumer technologies: identifying eCommerce business opportunities
  • SEPHORA, personal care and beauty: identifying growth around their haircare category
  • AIRBUS, aerospace: create a vision of what the future of passenger jets could be like in the next 20 years
  • ALIBABA, e-commerce: identifying future of logistics for small order global trading

When will I know if my team is selected?

We will announce the selection 1 week before the cycle starts. Shortlisted teams will be contacted by the program management team.

If my team isn't selected, can I apply for the next cycle?

Yes! We will reach out to you if you are not selected and encourage you to re-apply for the next cycle

Can a team change team members?

Yes, this is possible but strongly discouraged. This creates inconvenient delays for both the client and internal recruiting team. It is mandatory that if a student needs to leave the competition, he or she must provide a replacement. Every individual will be signing a participation agreement at the begining of the program.

What happens if there are multiple teams applying from the same university

Teams from the same university will compete on different challenges

If can't attend a presentation, can I present at another time?

Speak to your mentor, who will try to accommodate your request with the client in case you or at least three of your teammates indefinitely aren’t able to present.


Will the presentations be online?

Presentations take place online via webinars unless the client requests physical presence for any local teams if available.

How do we access the platforms used throughout the program?

LMS ( Learning Management System):

  • This platform is designed for you to access your challenge throughout the program. In this platform, you will be able to download documents, get updates on upcoming calendar events, submit your presentations, access webinar recordings, take GIMI quizzes, obtain certification and get access to EUREKA.
  • This software is used in the program to generate ideas and concepts and more.

Whom do I contact if I am having trouble with the platforms?


  • Maria Pullin: maria.pullin@ixl-center.ent
  • Edwin Bernal:
  • Ana Lucía Fernández:

How will we be scored in our presentations?

Your team will be scored across three main criteria-- Insights, Actionability, and Presentation (slides + delivery).

Where are the templates?

You have access to all the templates through the LMS. Depending on the section of the process you are in.

How broad should be our fields of play?

Fields of Play are strategic spaces and not individual ideas. Therefore they need to broad enough to hold multiple idea fragments that can be potentially converted into business concepts. The FOPs are your growth or opportunity platforms that would help you to close the identified growth gap and create innovation breakthroughs. Also, make sure that your FOPs are very well described so that people can easily visualize them and relate to them. Finally, all the potential idea fragments in your broad FOP will help you create an innovation pipeline of concepts that can be then presented to your management committee.


What is the role of the faculty mentor?

A faculty mentor will act as a second set of eyes and ears to help you along the way. It would be ideal to set meetings every 1 or 2 weeks in order to receive feedback, run some ideas by them, do dry-runs, and get introduced to their network of subject matter experts to help in any particular field

Is there a mandatory time allocation to work with our faculty mentor?

There is no mandatory time to be allocated, simply recommended meeting for 1 hour every 1 to 2 weeks would be ideal

How do I get a mentor assigned?

The Innovation Olympics team decides the mentor allocation internally, and you will be contacted by your mentor to get a formal introduction.


How are winners selected?

The client selected winners are chosen based on a forced ranking system as well as who they think had the best idea.

We won our challenge, how do we get our prize?

Students can choose from two Options to collect the prize and must assign ONE team member to receive and liaise with IXL Center.They can choose from either:

  • An Amazon Gift Card to each team member
  • Direct deposit into a single bank account

How do we deal with taxes on prize money?

Prize money recipients are responsible for their tax liabilities and reporting income to the appropriate tax authorities


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