The Business Cup Challenge draws schools from all over the GCC and gives students their first taste of corporate excellence.
There’s excitement in the air as Murdoch University Dubai gets ready for their acclaimed Business Cup Challenge. Running for the fourth time since its initiation, the competition is open to all secondary school students in their last two years of learning. With an increased level of interest the event has grown beyond home grounds with submissions and participation coming in from schools across the GCC.
“In order to thrive a business must maintain an intense focus on customer satisfaction, be agile in setting the pace for their competitors, hire and retain the right team, and exercise strong fiscal management,” says Dan Adkins, Academic Director, Murdoch University, Dubai Campus. “The same holds true when you participate in a competition such as BCC. It’s about being present and managing your time, resources and team.”
Speaking about this unique CSR initiative by their university he said, “BCC is often the first opportunity that the students get to compete with their contemporaries academically. Students participating in the BCC are challenged to analyse and provide solutions to real time business cases and issues using tools such as SWOT analysis, PESTEL, Porter’s 5 Forces, and BCG Matrices to analyse the business situation.
“They are encouraged to use lateral and creative thinking to develop solutions and use financial modelling to showcase the viability. Teams that don’t make it to the top 10 by the day of the finals also have to make an “elevator pitch”, something that comes in handy if they are approaching angel investors or venture capitalists,” he added.
Real world solutions
The Australian International School (AIS) which participated in the competition in 2014 is looking forward to bettering its fourth place position from the last time around. Mathew Anderson, Senior School Maths and Business teacher from AIS who led the team says, “It was an incredible experience for our students and they still talk about the BCC and the influence it has had on their thinking, their careers and their academic pathways. One of the highlights for mepersonally as the teacher was seeing some of our work come to fruition. My wife (who was also our mentor) and I were invited by National Bonds for the launch of their financial index. Three of our concepts from the National Bonds’ case study have been implemented and that is a fantastic achievement and huge profiling for our school. Also the Expo 2020 case study saw one of our branding concepts being implemented on taxis as a promotional strategy.”
The competitive spirit
Lynda Fernandes, Faculty Leader at The Cambridge International School, Dubai seconds the opinion that the BCC can be a really rewarding experience. The school has now won the challenge three years in a row!
“It was amazing to see our students in all three years working their way through the inter-school competition with saw participation from 40-50 schools from all over the GCC. From preparing case studies to pitching ideas, the BCC is a brilliant showcase of entrepreneurial skills. It helps students to demonstrate free thinking, creativity, co-operation, a can-do attitude, tonnes of enterprise and enables students to develop skills suited to the workplace,” says Fernandes.
She says empowering students to create, innovate, tinker, and make their ideas and solutions into reality is integral to The Cambridge International School, Dubai. “We encourage our students to participate in entrepreneurial competitions like these so that they develop creative solutions to real life problems and come up with amazing projects.”
Fernandes says this competition is definitely a time crunch. It is essential to plan out time effectively so there is room to do everything students need to. “Try to find people who have different strengths to make up the team. The Q&A session after the presentation is the most important part of the whole experience. If you can’t articulate the solution to the problem your company intends to fix and how much customers will pay for it, you’re probably not ready to take the stage. I would encourage students to be confident, creative and innovative.
It is a combination of having innovative students who are willing to take risks, have the discipline to work as a team, to help each other and ultimately to care about finding a solution to the case. We’re looking forward to competing again this year. Actually, I think that this year will be even more challenging for us with higher expectations going in!” concluded Lynda.
Source: Gulf News – Higher Education