The students of APU have never shied away from exposing themselves to ultimate opportunities, which not only accelerate their cognizance, but also help them gain a unique edifying proficiency. We strive to maximize our potential and contend with the brightest minds from all over, and recently we can witness the members of the ‘Competitive Business Strategies Circle’ indulging in the same under the impeccable guidance of their faculty advisor, Dr. Damon DRUMMOND, Associate Professor, College of International Management.
The ‘Competitive Business Strategies Circle’ or ‘CBS’ has active members who are eagerly taking a leap to discover the fast paced world of casework and are testing their abilities to develop innovative solutions to real world business issues. Not only does this help them gain an insight into the ‘real’ corporate world, but also helps them expand their social and professional network.
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University was recently invited to attend the ‘Hong Kong International Case Competition’ and the ‘Thammasat Undergraduate Business Case Challenge’ in Hong Kong and Bangkok respectively. While the team for the ‘Hong Kong International Case Competition’ comprised of Kanika THET (APM3, Cambodia), Chi Nguyen Mai PHAN (APM3, Viet Nam), Swathinath VIJAYAN (APM3, India) and Gimo Sousa MANUNGO (APM4, Mozambique); APU was represented in Bangkok by Wei Sheng HOON (APM 2014 Alumni, Singapore), Poonsiri NAOVARATANOPHAS (APM2, Thailand), Gimo Sousa MANUNGO and Vachiraya SUKONTHOTOK (APM3, Thailand). In Hong Kong, these students were pitted against around 17 teams from leading universities all around the world, such as University of Pennsylvania, National University of Singapore and McGill University amongst many others. The business challenges they faced literally challenged the analytical and problem-solving skills of these students, while helping them rationalize their time management and critical thinking skills.
The ‘Hong Kong International Case Competition (CICC)’, which was organized and sponsored by Citi Bank in collaboration with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and held in October and November 2014, had its main theme revolve around a hotel group. The teams present there were divided into three divisions and each team was allotted 22 hours to prepare their presentation on a rational and practical solution for the challenge they faced. The best team from each of the divisions would proceed to a final round, whereas the second placed teams would be given a chance to represent their case in a mini competition and the fourth finalists were to be selected from between them.
Throughout the one-week of the CICC competition, not only did the organizers provide the teams with opportunities to learn more about the corporate sphere of Hong Kong, but also helped them indulge in Hong Kong’s culture.
After a seemingly endless one week, the case completion was over, yet there was a battle left to fight. All the teams present were asked to perform a cultural show reflecting the country they represented as a team building challenge and also as an unforgettable memory for the whole event. Our APU team amazed everyone with a Japanese dance called ‘Soran Bushi’ amalgamated with Japanese well-known cartoons such as “Power Rangers” to bring back the childhood memories of the audience while giving them a glimpse of the Japanese culture. Not only did the delegation from APU manage to get everyone indulged in their performance, but was also popularly voted by the judges as the outright winners of the CICC 2014 ‘Young Talent Show Performance’. The defending champions of this title, APU bagged this title consecutively for the second time and as last year’s team member and winner Ngoc Nam Trung NGUYEN, (APM 2014 Alumni) commented, “This Trophy prize winning will have to become an APU tradition and is something to strive for maintaining!”
On the other hand, in a completely different country; the ‘Thammasat Undergraduate Business Challenge’, which was hosted by the Thammasat Business School at Thammasat University in August 2014, consisted of two rounds - preliminary and final. In the preliminary round, the sixteen teams were divided into four divisions of 4 teams each and the highest scoring team from each competed in the final round.
Throughout the duration of this competition, the APU delegation experienced and enjoyed the incredible Thai culture, while immersing themselves in social and networking activities. The challenge started off with the preliminary round, in which each team was given 30 hours to analyze and prepare a solution for a given business case, with absolute no communication with anyone from outside the team. The thirty hours that followed tested everyone’s aptitudes to the maximum of their abilities, in which our team worked together to identify issues, conceive solutions and frame their presentation. All this preparation led to a twenty-minute presentation, which was to be followed by an intensive question-answer round by the judges. With two Thai members in the APU delegation, the team had an advantage since these members knew Thai markets and its corporate environment really well. The team was determined to excel, and pushed it’s limits which not only helped them understand more about the world, but also learn a lot from the people around. As the team member Gimo Sousa adds, ‘I learned a lot about the different approaches that each team implemented to analyze the case and the various methods they used to deliver their presentation.”
Team member Vachiraya further adds “This is the very first time in my life to participate in such sort of a competition. Without Professor DRUMMOND’s guidance and advice, as well as all the support from the CBS Circle throughout the training, I would not have been able to stand where I am. This unforgettable competition is so memorable that it would encourage me to take the next step toward such challenges in the future.”
Such competitions are indeed a true stimulation of how our corporate world works and what one needs to do I order to compete at the highest tier. This entire process requires one to combine their knowledge, deep understanding and effective application of every piece of management and finance one has ever learnt. As Swathinath mentions, ‘Such experiences and memories are to cherish, for not only do you gain valuable insights about business strategies and decision-making in the real world, but you also get an opportunity to give a strategy proposal and presentation to the senior management of a real company and get feedback from them. It’s like your first ever real ‘consulting assignment!’’
With such opportune experiences, the members of the ‘Competitive Business Strategies Circle’ are planning to create APU’s first international case competition, in order to expose such challenges to the students of APU and other universities!
So if you believe that you have undiscovered potential and talent that can bring about a change in the corporate world, join this training and aspire to be a part of challenges that will shape you as a world class business leader!
Student Press Assistant (SPA)
ARORA Akshat (India)