Acton School of Business Launches “Acton Challenge” to Uncover Future Leaders in Real Estate, Education Innovation and Energy Fields


Austin, TX – March 26, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — The search for the next generation of business and not-for-profit leaders begins this May, as the Acton School of Business today announced the Acton Challenge, an unprecedented competition comprised of three simultaneous challenges in the fields of energy, real estate and education innovation. As business and civic leaders across the country become increasingly concerned about the continued decline of innovative leaders emerging from America’s education system, the Acton Challenge intends to change the way that future leaders are identified and refined.

Each Acton Challenge multi-phased contest is designed to discover individuals who have the integrity, intelligence and drive to change the world. The competitions, sponsored by the Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship, are open to anyone who has the desire to compete and make a difference in the fields of energy, real estate or education innovation. One individual in each field will earn the title of “2012 Acton Rising Star” and choose between a $10,000 cash prize or a $50,000 fellowship to the Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship program.


“Many of tomorrow’s business leaders are stuck in cubes impatiently awaiting the opportunity to show they have what it takes,” says Jeff Neeley, Acton Challenge Director. “We believe a select few can change the course of their lives, industries and the world if given the chance to prove themselves. With industry Guides– real rock stars in their trades – and the best in entrepreneurship learning experiences, we are ready to connect and equip the next generation of world-changing business leaders.”

Registration for the Acton Challenge is now open and costs $25. Individuals who register by May 18, 2012 will be invited into the first phase of the program. For the participants who make it to the third and final phase of the competition, there will be an additional $1,500 investment required to cover the use of Acton’s proprietary online platform developed by seasoned entrepreneurs and nationally-ranked entrepreneur professors. Participants must register online for the Acton Challenge in their individual field:

Acton Education Innovation Challenge:

Acton Energy Challenge:

Acton Real-Estate Challenge:


Acton has partnered with a renowned group of business leaders who will oversee the Challenge and mentor the finalists. These Guides include successful CEOs and entrepreneurs from the Energy Field, disruptors and thought leaders in Education Innovation as well as successful developers and industry leaders in Real Estate.

“The Acton Challenge is a ‘ticket to the top’ for someone who is eager to showcase their talents, and willing to prove that he or she has what it takes to succeed,” says Jeff Sandefer, cofounder and Master Teacher at the Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship.


The Acton Challenge consists of three phases: Qualification, The Arena and The Main Event.

Phase I: Qualification

Candidates will begin the Acton Challenge by participating in Qualification, a series of online challenges that begins today and ends on May 18, 2012 and costs $25. Throughout intense questions, simulations, and real-world exercises, participants will be required to prove their ability to follow through and think critically – key traits of successful leaders. Assignments are completed at the preferred pace of the candidate, even in the span of one weekend, and then uploaded for potential mentors to evaluate. Only those who can prove they possess these traits will move on to the second stage of the competition

Phase II: The Arena

A select group of up to 40 survivors from Qualification will be invited to Austin, Texas to participate in The Arena at the end of May or in early June, depending on their field of participation. The Arena is a one-day event held on the Acton School of Business campus where the participants will meet each other, engage in intense case discussions and interact with the Guides. At the end of this stage, each Guide will choose an entrepreneur to guide and mentor through the final stage of the Acton Challenge.

Phase III: The Main Event

For 14 weeks, beginning June 18 and ending September 21, the 27 finalists will further explore the critical lessons of entrepreneurship one-on-one with a Guide as their mentor. The Main Event is a series of challenges and activities that will allow the Guides to gain a deep understanding of the finalists and their skillsets, to help determine which three individuals—one from each industry—will ultimately win the Acton Challenge and be named the “2012 Acton Rising Star” in their field. This phase requires a 12 hour-per-week time commitment and an investment of $1,500 per competitor to cover use of Acton’s proprietary online platform developed by seasoned entrepreneurs and nationally-ranked professors.

For the three winners—one from each industry—a cash prize of $10,000 or a $50,000 fellowship to the acclaimed Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship program will be awarded to help further their entrepreneurial journey.

About the Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship:

Founded in 2002 by four highly successful entrepreneurs, the Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship is a fully accredited MBA program consistently ranked by The Princeton Review as one of the top business programs in the nation. Designed to prepare talented and dedicated students for extraordinary lives as principled business leaders, the Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship is an intense nine-month program located in beautiful downtown Austin, Texas. Taught entirely using the Socratic method, Acton boasts a roster of Master Teachers who are proven real-world entrepreneurs—all have founded or managed successful businesses in industries such as oil and gas, consulting, engineering, software, real estate, and others—to the tune of over $4.5 billion in assets and counting. BusinessWeek named co-founder and Master Teacher Jeff Sandefer one of the top entrepreneurship professors in the United States. The Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship is now accepting applications for the class of 2013. Visit for more information.

Glenn Mandel
Red Fan Communications