Article contributed by Haridesh Sharma and Maneet Singh Ahuja, MBA Class of 2019.
“As an entrepreneur, there should not be any limit to your imagination and dream” said Prof. Vijay Sethi in the first class of Entrepreneurship course. After Prof informed everyone about Bangkok challenge, Suryansh and Maneet reached out to me asking whether I was interested in participating Bangkok Business Challenge. Although I joined another group for class, I could not miss this opportunity. Additionally, I wanted to apply the theory taught in class into practical application. Since everyone was passionate about the competition, I was happy to be part of such team and contribute.
To provide brief background, the SCG Bangkok Business Challenge @ Sasin is Asia’s only global postgraduate start-up competition. Founded in 2002 by Sasin School of Management as the first such regional competition in Southeast Asia, SCG BBC is one of the longest running start-up competition in Asia and encourages students in postgraduate programs across the globe to become more entrepreneurial.
Combining our knowledge of operations, market research, information technology and product design, we formed the team. We realized the gaps in our team and scouted to find right team members to fill in finance as well as lead role. Assyl, who was also part of entrepreneurship class, joined our team as finance expert. Furthermore, we reached out to Araj who has extensive experience of scaling up and running business in Middle east. Our patent pending technology by NTU had multiple applications and we were really excited about what to commercialize. Through extensive research, we created business plan of providing non-invasive glucose monitoring devices for diabetes patients using our “GON” chip technology. Working on tight schedule, we submitted our “BetterLife Monitor” executive summary and 60 seconds pitch right before the deadline. 71 teams from 40 institutions representing 19 countries and 4 continents registered and submitted their business plan and only 19 teams were invited to Bangkok for semi-finals. Although we knew our product is revolutionary, we were pleasantly surprised and elated when we receive congratulatory email to participate further in challenge. What’s more rewarding was 2 teams from NTU made into 6 finalists.
What followed was long nights of preparations, arguments, market research and customer validation. Entrepreneurship module by Prof. Vijay helped us in refining our idea, creating detailed business plan, validating the plan in front of class and taking feedback from everyone. Our class presentation gave us necessary confidence and we were ready (or we thought so) for Bangkok.
The understanding between the team was impeccable and everyone was working with single vision. Assyl and Suryansh focussed their energy entirely on financials, which became one of the strongest part of our business plan. Araj was key to create our market and operations plan and used his extensive network to validate our plan. Maneet worked tirelessly to create product development cycle and researched about all regulatory requirements. I was involved with product design and how technology works as well as taking care of all design related activities. We were able to do all this in the most busiest month of our MBA journey.
Our team had unforgettable experience in Bangkok. The amount of learnings through constant feedback as well as learning from peers was amazing. As a team we grew tremendously and it turned out to be one of the best experience in Bangkok. All those sleepless nights and hard work paid off when our team “BetterLife” was adjudged as grand winner of Sasin Bangkok Business Challenge. This was definitely the highlight of our MBA journey. We were ecstatic and proud to represent Nanyang Business School on global platform, especially when this was the first time a team from Nanyang Technological University has won this prestigious award.
As we prepare for our next adventure at Rice Business Plan competition, we have come long way since we began. This was long and strenuous journey which would not have been possible without constant support and guidance by Prof. Vijay Sethi. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our MBA cohort who helped us in refining our plan and listening to our presentations again and again. As an advice to upcoming cohort, we would strongly encourage to participate in such competitions in order to have true MBA experience and maximize your learnings.