Asia-Pacific (APAC) is one of the fastest growing economic regions, but that growth presents complex business challenges.
That was the inspiration behind the MBA Case Competition hosted by the business school AGSM in Sydney.
The inaugural competition brought together top talent from business schools across the Asia-Pacific region, including Peking University of China and Nanyang Business School of Singapore.
The cases were real business problems faced by organizations seeking to enter or expand into Asian markets.
The winners of the competition, the Guanghua School of Management, took home a $5,000 cash award.
The event was sponsored by MasterCard.
MBA student Krishnadas Manghat helped organize the competition. Below, he explains what went down.
Q. Tell us about the theme of the inaugural competition.
We focused the competition on business within APAC because: The region is a key market that is experiencing economic growth; and regions within APAC are very diverse.
We picked three very different companies from within APAC based on their size and challenges. Our first case was around an established brewed drinks company that sought to break successfully into the Asian market. Our second case was around a smart energy start-up that wanted to focus on international markets, including China and Korea. Finally our last case was for MasterCard.
Q. How beneficial is it to have big-name judges such as MasterCard?
We were on the lookout for a large leader who had a strong presence in APAC. There could not have been fit than MasterCard. The sponsorship boosted awareness of the competition. It also gave the participants an opportunity to work on a case study on the challenges MasterCard faces in APAC. Finally, we got to hear feedback from the very people who run the business.
Q. What is the benefit to MBA students of participating?
It is a great opportunity for students to apply learning from their MBA programs, especially their consulting skills, to real business scenarios. During the competition, each case demands analysis and interpretation of relevant facts in a limited amount of time. The findings then lead to solving the problem in a structured way that best befits the business context. Participants must demonstrate presentation skills and convince the panel of judges why their approach to the business problem is the best.
Besides the competition, the students have a chance to network with their peers from top MBA programs across the APAC region.
Q. What is the value of case studies as MBA learning tools?
The value of the case study is that it simulates a real business environment and helps students prepare for business challenges. The ability to make sound and quick decisions under pressure is developed. It also promotes teamwork.
Q. How important is it to have business schools participating from a diverse range of countries?
As today’s business world becomes increasingly global in outlook, multicultural awareness is becoming more and more important to organizational success. Multiple studies show the value of diversity in today’s workplace.
Case competitions, to be effective learning tools, need to simulate a real business environment. Hence it becomes paramount to have business schools participating from a diverse range of countries, helping to bring a global perspective that benefits both the students and the organizations involved.
Q. How awesome is it to also spend part of your summer in Sydney?
There are amazing cultural activities such as theatre, street performances and art exhibitions. If that’s not your thing, you can always take a quick trip down to the world-class beaches and see everything that Mother Nature has gifted to this glorious city.