What is the Drucker Challenge?
The Drucker Challenge is an international essay competition held annually by the Drucker Society Europe, in conjunction with the Drucker Forum. The Challenge explores a current topic in management – typically related to the theme of the Forum – in the context of Peter Drucker’s human-oriented management philosophy.
What can I win?
As a 1st prize winner you receive a cash prize of € 1.500, and as a 2nd and 3rd prize winner € 800
For all benefits see Prizes.
Can I participate?
The Challenge is open to students (bachelor, master, MBA, and PhD) and young professionals, 18 to 35 years old (inclusive of both ages). Check your eligibility on the Rules page.
Is the Challenge a scholarship, fellowship, or grant?
No. The Challenge is an essay competition.
I’m 18 years old, but I’m a high school student and/or matriculated university student who hasn’t yet started their program. Can I submit an essay?
No. You must be a current university student in order to submit an essay to the Student category.
I just finished my last university degree, but I haven’t yet started my first post-degree opportunity. Can I submit an essay?
Yes. You can submit an essay to the Student category.
I’m a part-time student. Can I submit an essay?
Yes. You can submit an essay to either the Student or the Manager/Entrepreneur category, depending on your main occupation.
I’m a current university student, but I’m not studying business. Can I submit an essay?
Yes. The Challenge is an open competition. You can submit an essay to the Student category regardless of your academic major or focus.
I’m a young professional, but I’m not a manager. Can I submit an essay?
Maybe. If you manage people, processes, projects, and/or budgets, we consider you a manager. By this definition, more young professionals than not qualify as managers in some sense. We encourage you to reflect on your experience and use your best judgement in deciding whether to submit to the Manager/Entrepreneur category.
I don’t have any diploma or degree. Can I submit an essay?
Yes. The Challenge is an open competition. As long as you are 18 to 35 years old (inclusive of both ages) and you manage people, processes, projects, and/or budgets, you can submit an essay to the Manager/Entrepreneur category regardless of whether you have a diploma or degree.
I’m 35 years old. Can I submit an essay?
Maybe. If you will be 35 years old on the submission deadline, you can submit an essay. If you will be 36 years old on the submission deadline, you can not submit an essay.
I’m a national of country XYZ. Can I submit an essay?
Yes. The Challenge is an open competition. You can submit an essay no matter what nationality you hold or country you reside in.
Please note that if you place in the top 10, you will need a current passport in order to travel to the Forum in Vienna, Austria.
I placed in the top 10 in a previous year. Can I submit an essay?
Yes. You can submit an essay. You are eligible to place in the top 10 across the Student and Manager/Entrepreneur categories up to two times total.
Is the Challenge a personal or analytical essay contest?
The Challenge is a personal essay contest, although narratives are often related to the topic in an analytical way and claims are supported by evidence.
Is it acceptable if I disagree with Peter Drucker’s thinking on the topic?
Yes. You can certainly disagree with Peter Drucker’s thinking on the topic. We welcome your interpretation of Drucker’s ideas in the context of your cultural environment and lived experiences.
Can I see examples of previous top 10 essays?
Yes. Please see the Archive section in the footer of this website.
Does the Challenge follow a single blind review procedure?
Yes. The Challenge effectively – although not officially – follows a single blind review procedure. You will know who the judges are, but the judges will not know who you are. We require you to omit your name from your submitted essay. If you forget or fail to do so, our judging coordinator will remove your name before providing your essay to the judges. The judges adhere to a common scoring framework in order to prevent reviewer bias.
The nature of the Challenge as a personal essay contest prevents us from being able to claim official adherence to a single blind review procedure, as you may share personal, potentially identifying details in your narrative and through your style of writing.
Fairness and impartiality are core values of the Challenge and we do everything we can to ensure a level playing field.
Can we submit an essay as a group?
No. All essays must be written exclusively by a single individual. Any essays that, in our sole judgement, have been written by a group will be considered null and void.
Can I submit an essay I’ve written that’s been published elsewhere?
No. All essays must be original and written for the express purpose of this contest.
Do I need to cite my sources?
Maybe. If you reference specific ideas, facts, and/or figures, you need to cite your sources. Please use footnotes in Chicago style.
Can I write in a language other than English?
No. At this time, we are only able to accept essays written in English.
English is not my native language. Will I be penalized for spelling or grammar errors?
No. While the judges do evaluate your “ability to express your thoughts in fluent English”, this is a simple “yes-no” check of an essay’s comprehensibility. Can we understand your essay? Is it clear what you are trying to express?
The judges are more interested in your thoughts, originality, and style. We welcome essays from non-native English speakers.
Do you offer certificates for participation?
When will the Challenge topic be announced?
The Challenge topic is typically announced in late March or early April.
When is the submission deadline?
The submission deadline varies from year to year, but is typically in late July or early August. Check the Rules page for this year’s deadline.
How will I know if I’ve won?
If you place in the top 10, you will be contacted directly around September. The results will also be published on the Drucker Challenge website.
When will the results be announced?
The results are typically announced through email and social media in late September.
I’m a winner or finalist. Can my essay be republished in a magazine or newspaper?
Maybe. To request permission for your essay to be republished – in part or in whole – in a magazine or newspaper, please contact us. Typically, as long as the magazine or newspaper cites and links to the Challenge website, republication is encouraged.