What is TNC?

The Negotiation Challenge was founded in 2007 as the first international negotiation competition in Europe and one of only few international negotiation competitions in the world.  The primary idea behind The Negotiation Challenge (TNC) is to gather world’s best student negotiators and allow them to compare their negotiation skills and by doing so prepare for the complex negotiations they will face after graduation.  During the event, the students from world’s leading universities compete with each other in realistic negotiation situations.  Participating in TNC offers a great opportunity to experience diverse ways of negotiation and to meet and network with students from various countries with different backgrounds and cultures all sharing the passion for negotiation.

The Founders

The Negotiation Challenge was founded by Dr. Remigiusz Smolinski and Dr. Peter Kesting and started as a joint initiative of their students at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management and Harvard Negotiators. Dr. Smolinski and Dr. Kesting share the passion for theory and practice of negotiation. They have researched and taught negotiation courses at various institutions in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Poland, USA, UAE and China. They regularly conduct executive training and advise top managers on negotiation and conflict resolution. Dr. Kesting is a negotiation professor at Aarhus University.  Dr. Smolinski is professor at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. 

The Format

Through compelling negotiation methods and strategies, the participating teams must prove their skills and compete through online qualification rounds. The best teams advance to the finals, during which they compete face-to-face in front of an international jury composed of lawyers, business leaders and professors. The best team wins a trophy and a title of The Great Negotiator or an unofficial Negotiation World Champion.  

Due to its highly competitive character combined with rigorous scientific approach, winning The Negotiation Challenge can be compared with winning the World Championship in Negotiation.  All negotiation simulations used during The Negotiation Challenge are exclusively prepared for this purpose and tested by senior academic faculty affiliated with International Negotiation Teaching and Research Association.  The scientific and pedagogical value of the competition is guaranteed by their personal involvement in the preparation phase as well as together with seasoned practitioners as judges during the negotiation rounds. 

The Evaluation Criteria

The Negotiation Challenge has been developed to identify and recognize world’s best student negotiators who can prevail in diverse negotiation situations.  To successfully master this challenge, the students must be able to apply the appropriate methods from the whole spectrum of their negotiation skills in the right negotiation situations or in other words demonstrate their negotiation intelligence.  Next to formal negotiation skills, the judges evaluate also the participants’ communication skills (e.g. active listening, convincing argumentation, communication within the team), their contribution to understanding the interests and identifying issues as well as their ability to create AND to claim value.  In the online negotiation rounds, the students are evaluated based on the substantive and relational outcome of their negotiations. During the finals, the negotiations will be observed by the judges, who will assess the teams’ performance based on the criteria from the Negotiation Competency Model (Smolinski & Xiong, 2020).

The Book

To help potential participants, their negotiation professors and coaches prepare for and prevail in negotiation competitions, we published a book: The Negotiation Challenge: How to Win Negotiation Competitions including 16 ready-to-use, competition-tested negotiation simulations with thorough instructional debriefs that suggest both optimal strategies and discuss potential results. In the book, we describe various types of negotiations we use during The Negotiation Challenge and discuss the evaluation criteria we use to capture the participants’ negotiation intelligence and select the best student negotiators. The book is not only a must-read for anyone planning to apply and participate in a negotiation competition, it is also well suited for negotiation instructors looking for new and proven teaching material or for anyone interested in practicing and improving their negotiation skills. Read more… 

The Negotiation Challenge 2025

The Negotiation Challenge 2025 will take place in Cape Town.  To apply to TNC 2025 please form a team of max. 3 students, complete the registration form and transfer the registration fee. We look forward to receiving your applications by February 1, 2025.