Competition Overview

The 2020 NC State Grand Business Challenge is February 20th - 22nd at NC State University's Centennial Campus. This invitation-only competition is for full-time MBA students.

Merck strives to continuously improve the lives of patients by supporting and fostering innovation amongst future talent that creates a secure and reliable healthcare atmosphere. Merck hopes to use this competition as an opportunity for business students to help optimize the IT systems that underlie healthcare and pharmaceuticals so that these issues never inhibit Merck's ability to serve and care for customers.

General Information

First Two Days

Merck will release the first challenge (the Foundational Challenge) information one month in advance to allow each challenge team the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the material and build their first presentation.

On the first day of the event, Thursday, February 20th, teams will be randomly divided into groups and present within their assigned group. Each presentation group will have a panel of judges consisting of senior executives from leading IT and healthcare firms. These judges will actively engage with student participants throughout the competition.

Building on the Foundational Challenge, teams will be given the second challenge (the Succession Challenge) following the presentations. All teams will present the second challenge on Friday, February 21st.

Based on overall performance in the Foundational and Succession Challenges, the top team from each presentation group will advance to the final challenge (the Grand Business Challenge). The remaining teams will compete in the Storyboard Challenge.

The Last Day

The top team from each group will compete in the Grand Business Challenge on Saturday, February 22nd. The winning teams will receive cash prizes.  The first place team from the Grand Business Challenge will also receive a coveted trophy to showcase their success at their school.

The remaining teams will compete in the Storyboard Challenge for additional prize money.


  • Business Casual during reception period (grand opening, group meals, Awards Reception)
  • Business Professional attire is required for all presenters
  • Business Casual attire is suggested for judges and guests