By: Steven Quimby, American, Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011
Right from the very beginning when we first entered the Nanyang campus, we were told about the business plan competition opportunities ahead of us. Well, the preparation and the expectations began when Prof Vijay Sethi, told us about the various competitions NBS participates in. Impressed and enthusiastic, a lot of us took the New Venture Practicum course, which ran across a couple of terms and which Prof Sethi teaches. Then the preparations start, teams were formed, expectations set and preparations were underway. As John Molson MBA International Case Competition was the first competition to be available for the cohort to participate in and one of the most established and prestigious competition of its kind – four of us, Kishan and Parul from India, Janine from Germany and yours truly, from USA, rose up to the challenge and formed The NANYANG MBA team that would compete in this competition.
The road to the competition was extremely challenging, yet, fulfilling – we were subjected to the intensity and rigor of case preparation – a lot of preparation, feedback and practice with different cases to prepare us to compete against other b-schools.
There were a total of 5 business cases, one of which is a live case presentation by a major company about a real-life business challenge that the company is facing. The 36 teams were divided into different divisions, and Nanyang was in Bombardier Division competing against b-schools from Germany, Canada, USA and Singapore. We put our heads together and set our sights to win every case. But we were also in the midst of like-minded individuals as we lost two out of five cases. Despite this, we still felt like winners – we pushed the envelope and showcased our capabilities and expertise. Of course, this would not be possible, if not for the expert guidance of our mentor and coach, Prof Vijay Sethi.
And the D-day arrived. While most of our classmates headed to various parts of the world for the traditional Christmas vacation break, we headed to Montreal, Canada for the competition – with lots of excitement and hope to win and do NBS proud. It was a long tiring journey, but we were also excited to extend our network and make new friends from 36 teams all over the world that convened in Montreal, Canada that week. It was also a great opportunity to meet and network with prominent business people attending the competition as guests, judges or sponsors.
This is how the events transpired:
Day 1: Was the Opening ceremony followed by the City Chase event. We got to see the underground city of Montreal
Day 2: Ready and get set go. There were a total of 5 business cases, one of which was a live case presentation by a major company about a real-life business challenge that the company is facing. The 36 teams were divided into different divisions, and Nanyang was in Bombardier Division competing against b-schools from Germany, Canada, USA and Singapore. The competition started with the first case about a family business. Unfortunately, we lost the first case.
Day 3: A lot of review of our strategy and more commitment compared to day 2. And there we were. We won this time. We formed strategies – some worked and some not so much.
Following Days – We won all the other following cases, except one. But somehow that was not enough. We were in the competitive pool and so could not make it to the finals. Despite this, we still felt like winners – we pushed the envelope and showcased our capabilities and expertise.
Our mentor, Prof Vijay was very supportive and encouraging throughout the competition. Even when we lost hope, he was confident and believed in us.
Aside from the competition itself, there were networking sessions, the Hockey Night where we experienced the fever and hype about Canada’s well-loved sport – hockey! There was also the ROCKSTAR party to cap the week where we partied hard after a weeklong intense competition.
The entire experience was a learning and a truly memorable one. We learnt from other like-minded individuals, we evolved as a team, and we understood our strengths and weaknesses. My team members exhibited composure even under extreme pressure. As the saying goes, coals turn to diamonds under extreme pressure. It was a true learning experience for all of us – the competition brought out the best among the 4 of us.
The other important part that impressed us was the planning and efforts of students who organized this event. It was a flawless and a very fun series of events. Be it the Ice Hockey Match, or the free flowing beer in the Hospitality Suite and the case competition itself.
It was a week we will all remember. It was a really good experience – a rewarding one.