The Gobi Desert Challenge is an annual competition for EMBA students of top global Chinese business schools. This competition is held in the Mo-Kia-Yen Gobi Desert on the border between Gansu Province and Xinjiang; a section historically known as an “800 mile-long river of quicksand”. It was at this place 1,300 years ago that the Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveller and translator, Xuangzang, was chased, abandoned, and almost killed as he traversed the desert to India. During this journey, he resolved to “rather die in the journey to the West than return to go on living,” and also to “never retrace a single step eastwards before reaching India”.
During this pilgrimage, he was without water for five days and four nights and almost died as a result.
Notwithstanding these misfortunes, he remained undaunted in his commitment to the journey and eventually reached his destination. Inspired by Xuanzang’s spirit of determination and fortitude, the Gobi Challenge has been held successfully for nine years since 2006.
The upcoming tenth challenge will be carried out in Guazhou in May 2015. At this challenge, EMBA students from 31 competing schools and 10 observing institutions will hike 112 kilometres to experience first-hand the journey Xuanzang made in pursuit of truth, and better understand the keys to success: vision, action and perseverance. This experiential “classroom” will allow them to feel the confluence of nature and humanity and strengthen their resolution, health and stamina for any challenges that lie ahead.