About the Peter Drucker Challenge
The Peter Drucker Challenge is an annual essay contest promoted by the Global Peter Drucker Forum, which targets to keep the human-centered management philosophy of Peter Drucker alive inside the younger generation’s mind.
The 2020 theme was “Leadership and Critical Thinking”, and I reached 2nd place in the student's* category in a competition with more than 600 people all around the world. I was the first Brazilian in 10 years of the contest to be in the top 3.
In my essay, I approached filter bubbles, fake news, and how critical thinking can be used as a tool to face these problems. As an answer to the contest question about the performance of young leaders related to this kind o thought, I compared the decisions made by the former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz — the youngest head of government in the world — and of other young political leaders to the decisions made by older leaders facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recently, several Brazilians got in touch with me, asking for advice to try the contest this year. This motivated me to take a look back, when I was developing my essay, and to highlight a few points that were important to my process:
- Get to know the structure of an essay
The contest has the essay as its format. Before “getting the hands dirty”, it’s essential to know the particularities of this textual genre, so you can structure your text accordingly, and avoid it becoming a narrative or dissertation text, for example.
- Research. A lot of research.
Before defining a strategy or theme for your essay, you should research the topics raised by the contest’s questions. Although the essay is an opinionated text, it’s essential to base your opinions on facts, ensuring that your worldview is congruent with reality. Countless ideas for your essay may arise from this research.
Don’t forget to note the relevant quotes for your essay, as well as the author, work, and page. They will compose your bibliography.
- Set up a logic
In case you approach several themes, find a common point among them and set up a structure, so one theme leads to another. In my case, this common point was politics, and I sought to make this topic a constant to every theme I approached, whether as a major or minor focus.
Since I started to produce my essay, I wrote every single day until its completion. There were days that I wrote a whole page; others, when I didn’t feel so good or inspired, that I wrote at least a phrase. On the next day, I always reread what I have written on the previous day, then I edited this snippet to locate myself on my own text and to warm up before starting to write again.
- Edit and evaluate your essay
When I finished my first draft, I took a week away from my essay in order to lose my “vices”, thus being able to evaluate it with a more impartial look, resulting in a more efficient edition. In case you feel at ease, show your essay to those who you value their opinion, and know how to listen to the critics they present to you. They can show you flaws or problems in your essay that you haven’t seen yet.
Writing for the Peter Drucker Challenge changed my political view and the way I see the problems related to the topics I approached, besides giving me a better sense of the social media’s role in this world that increasingly becomes more and more digital.
To you who intend to participate in this or in the next years, here’s my advice: getting to the top 10 or not, you’ll have only earnings with this experience that surely will make you reevaluate the way you see the world.
*The contest considers a student who has only a Bachelor’s Degree.