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The Executive Challenge

The Program

Executive Challenge Logo

Are leaders born or made? While research suggests that innate ability can be helpful, the most effective leaders are forged through the fires of experience.

The Executive Challenge is a one of a kind, fast-paced, multi-round simulation where 16 teams face off in an immersive leadership development experience. Student participants have the unique opportunity to place themselves in the shoes of a c-level executive, solve complex real-world business problems and test their leadership in front of experienced leaders who act as a board of directors.


  • This is a virtual event
  • Teams are comprised of 4 individuals
  • The competition has two rounds
  • Every team competes in the first round, and the top four teams move-on to the second/final round
  • Teams receive the case one week before competition day
  • In the first round, teams deliver a presentation to their company's board of directors (executive judge panel) highlighting their companies challenges and proposing innovative solutions
  • Presentation deliverables will focus on four primary executive roles (CEO, CFO, CMO, COO)
  • In the second/final round, each team will receive a twist in the case and have two days to prepare their response
  • Student teams will receive developmental feedback from executives after their presentations
  • Prize money is awarded to the top three finishers
    • 1st place team - $2000
    • 2nd place team - $1000
    • 3rd place team - $400


Once 16 teams have registered for the Fall 2020 Executive Challenge the registration portal will close. Assemble your team and register now to earn a spot.


Key Dates

Fall 2020 Applications

  • Open: August 31, 2020
  • Close: Monday, October 5, 2020 - 11:59 pm

Event Date & Time

  • Round 1: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 from 5PM - 7PM
  • Final Round: Thursday, October 15, 2020 from 5PM - 7PM

International Executive Challenge

The winners of the Fall 2020 Executive Challenge will be invited to participate in the Spring 2021 International Executive Challenge. The International Executive Challenge is a virtual version of the Executive Challenge that will include 15 teams from universities throughout the world.


The Executive Challenge gave me the opportunity to project myself away from the theory I have learned in the classroom, and solve real world problems with it.

preston winn

Preston Winn
Spring 2020 Participant

Spring 2020 Executive Challenge

2020 virtual executive challengeOn March 26, 2020 The Stephen R. Covey Leadership Center at Utah State University hosted the first semi-annual Executive Challenge. Originally planned as an in-person event, the competition was adapted to a virtual format amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Undeterred, eight teams of four students thoroughly prepared and delivered compelling solution presentations in the two round competition.

“I am proud that the Covey Fellows refused to cancel the competition but rather lobbied to continue in this new format,” said Bret Crane, assistant professor of management at the Huntsman School and associate director of the Stephen R. Covey Leadership Center. “Necessity can be the mother of invention. Our students continue to follow the Huntsman School motto to Dare Mighty Things!"

Read the USU Today press release to learn more about the Covey Center 2020 Executive Challenge.