NUS Business School Students Clinch Both International and National Championships in UOB-NUS Case Competition

* Participants in international competition hail from North America, Europe, South America and Asia
* Solutions proposed for Malaysia Airlines, SBS Transit, Inverted Edge

INGAPORE - Media OutReach11 September 2014 - Students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School have emerged as champions in both the international and national categories of this year's United Overseas Bank-National University of Singapore (UOB-NUS) Case Competition after impressing an independent panel of experts in several gruelling rounds.


Organised entirely by NUS Business School's undergraduates, the annual event is in its sixth edition. This year's competition was held from 1-5 September 2014.


UOB-NUS National Case Competition


In the National competition, Team Uni Consulting, consisting of NUS Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) students Shawn Ng Jing Jie, Lee Po Xian, Kristel Tey Hui Shi and Joshia Kwa Jing Le, finished ahead of some 600 undergraduates from Singapore's universities.


Participants were required to propose a business strategy for Inverted Edge, a Singapore fashion and design start-up firm in the preliminary round, and a strategy for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to boost revenues and cut costs in the semi-final and final.


Teams had 24 hours in the semi-final and final to formulate their recommendations before presenting their proposed solutions to a panel of judges that included representatives from Channel NewsAsia, UOB and L'Oreal.


Team Uni Consulting recommended a three-part strategy to mitigate the impact of the recent MAS disasters, cut costs and raise revenues. The proposals included replacing the airline's senior management to signal MAS's intention to address structural problems, thereby reassuring customers and controlling the damage to the brand. The team also proposed to cut costs by reducing the airline's headcount and unprofitable routes, while leasing excess aircraft and crew to other partner airlines. The strategy included focusing on the meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions (MICE) sector and business travel in Asia for greater revenue growth.


Said Kristel Tey, a third-year NUS BBA undergraduate: "This NUS-UOB Case challenge was a really unique and challenging one. We first had to solve a market entry case involving Inverted Edge going into China in the preliminaries, and in the semi-finals we had to devise a plan to revive MAS within 24 hours. It was a long, tough climb to the top with 150 teams vying for the title. Through all the sleepless nights from the preliminaries to the semi-finals, our team experienced consensus building but also many disagreements. That, however, pushed us to our limits and helped us see the value of teamwork, which was critical in helping us clinch the title. The best takeaway from this case was not the title or the prizes, but the amazing rapport and teamwork that we have built up."


UOB-NUS International Case Competition


In the International category, 12 teams from universities around the world competed against each other to devise business solutions for SBS Transit and MAS.


In the first case, participants were required to recommend strategies for SBS Transit to maintain market leadership following changes to the Government's public transport contracting model. The second case was on MAS and identical to the national competition.


The challenging format required teams to formulate strategies for the two companies within 31 hours. Teams were graded not only on how they presented their solutions and the strength of their recommendations, but also on how they critically assessed and questioned the solutions of the other teams.


The team consisting of Lenard Lu, Soh Hwa Jie, Low Li Ting and Mabelyn Tan, undergraduates from NUS Business School, eventually emerged as the champion, with the University of Hong Kong taking the first runner-up position and University of California, Berkeley placed as second runner-up.


Said Lenard Lou, leader of the winning NUS team: "The UOB-NUS International Case Competition has brought together many teams from all over the world. I have made many lasting friendships throughout the week and I am looking forward to meeting my new friends again in the future. I would like to thank the organising committee for putting together the competition as we gained a lot from it."


The participating universities in the UOB-NUS International Case Competition were:


1) Chulalongkorn University (Thailand)
2) Concordia University (Canada)
3) FGV (Brazil)
4) Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Hong Kong)
5) Maastricht University (Netherlands)
6) National University of Singapore (Singapore)
7) Queensland University of Technology (Australia)
8) Thammasat University (Thailand)
9) Tsinghua University (China)
10) University of Auckland (New Zealand)
11) University of California, Berkeley (United States)
12) University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)


Ms Catherine Chia, Managing Director of Talent Management and Business Human Resources, UOB Group, said: "As one of Asia's leading banks and one of Singapore's largest employers in the financial services sector, it is our responsibility to help nurture a pool of banking talent in the region which could one day become the leaders of the banking industry."


"As banking is a people business built on trust and deep relationship, UOB will be offering a one-year mentorship programme for the students from the winning team. The mentorship programme will allow the winning team to tap the decades-long experience of banking veterans. We hope that this will inspire them to explore a career in banking in the future," Ms Chia said.


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11 Sep 2014

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