MBA Students Win $5,000 Prize in Business Case Competition

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 1am

Sponsored by HKUST Business School

Last month, a team of five MBA students from Hong Kong’s HKUST Business School won the Global Consulting Challenge, an international business case competition which takes place in California every year.

The overall winning team - Aman Arora, Harsh Mody, Jiaying Zhang, Michael Pelosi and Sonia Im - beat competitors from some of the best business schools in the world, including Kellogg, London Business School, and Berkeley-Haas among others, for a grand prize of $5,000.

Every year, the business case competition attracts students from all over the world to the grounds of the University of Southern California, where they battle it out in an intensive two-day consulting case competition.

Teams are presented with three real-life problems faced by a Fortune 500 company and must present recommendations to a panel of company, industry, and consulting experts.

This year’s sponsor was the pharmaceutical company Amgen. The winning MBA team presented to top healthcare experts from Amgen, HP, KPMG, PwC, and Accenture, on how new technologies will disrupt Amgen’s business model.

Michael, 33, was a member of this year’s winning team. He said: “A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it, and you travel a 15-hour flight to get there. It was just so rewarding to have that experience.”

Michael said his team had no idea they had won until the very end. “You don’t get to see anyone’s presentation, so you have no context.”

HKUST Business School also won last year’s Global Consulting Challenge sponsored by Amazon, where they pitched a solution to allow Amazon to grow revenue while retaining its customer support-centric mindset.

So, what’s the secret to HKUST’s success? The Hong Kong-based business school have a rigorous selection process to set its teams, as all HKUST students who wish to compete in the Global Consulting Challenge must first win an internal case competition in Hong Kong, competing against their peers for the right to represent their university.

The winning team prepares for the competition months in advance, by taking part in an intensive week-long boot camp on essential business areas and skills, including communications, finance, strategy and marketing.

Michael said: “We were fortunate to win our internal competition coming first out of the 22 HKUST teams. As a result, we had a choice of which international competition to enter and we chose the USC Marshall competition, because it’s considered one of the most prestigious of its kind.

“We put in 100-plus hours of work into it so by the time we got to USC, we knew a lot more about the biopharmaceutical industry than we did before.”

In addition to the level of preparation, another way HKUST Business School stood out from other teams, Michael says, was its diversity.

“Our team comprised of myself, a sales executive, and four others, including someone from consulting, supply chain, finance, and marketing. In addition, most of us come from different countries, as two of us are from India, one from China, one from Korea, and I’m Canadian. This dynamic enabled us to bring different perspectives.”

Michael says the blend of nationalities at HKUST is exactly what he wanted from his MBA experience, having previously worked in New York City as the VP of sales for a marketing software company.

“The first thing I would say to someone thinking of doing an MBA, is really think about doing it outside your home country. So much of what I’ve gained from this MBA has come from learning how business is done outside North America.”

“Studying here, you really get a rich understanding of China, this relatively new economic powerhouse. I’ve also got to learn about the surrounding countries too, like Vietnam, which is also experiencing amazing growth. For me, that’s the greatest takeaway, especially as I try to prepare myself to be a global business leader.”

Originally posted on www.topmba.com

 

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