Ladies and gentlemen, it's been grand. Sleep deprived, eyes unadjusted to natural light and keyboards smeared with the ground-up remains of our fingertips, yet we could not be prouder.
This time last week we received our case problem in a white envelope and were whisked away to our rooms to begin our preparations. The case itself was about a Hong Kong sourcing firm, Li & Fung, whose globe spanning business includes everything from fashion to furniture. Our task was simple enough: double the size of the company from around 20 billion dollars in revenues (no sweat guys, no sweat).
We could have spent 48 hours studying the company and not yet know the extent of it's holdings, concerns and culture, given it's size. But we had 48 hours to do that, analyze the global economy, come up with a strategy and present our findings to real world business professionals (including executives from Microsoft, Boeing, and a array of Advisory firms).
Every minute we spent working we were learning. This wasn't just working fast- this was about efficiency, about knowing where you needed to worry and where you needed to gloss over. We aren't expected to come up with the perfect solution, tried and true numbers backed up by internal studies - we needed to know when to research and scan data bases, and when to make assumptions. This was about being thorough with our thinking and nimble with our effort. It was a crash course in preparing for life after uni. For the most part, I felt that it was a purpose built program that gave each one of us the opportunity to identify and nurture skills required for success in the corporate world, possibly at a Li & Fung or a Microsoft.
The presentations themselves are no cake walk -we all agreed they both were the most fun and the most pressure we have had in a long time. The judges pull no punches, probing strategies for weak points and the slightest slip up gets pointed out.
In the end this was a competition, and the winners, the University of Hong Kong, produced a 15 minute magnum opus that blew everyone away, a comprehensive mergers and acquisitions plan delivered with unerring confidence and poise - they deserve significant congratulations!
Are we jealous? Of course! But not because we did not win ( there was no cash prize wink wink) - because obviously they are the ones who learned the most from the experience, and in the end that's what we are here to do. Okay, yes, and sweet, ego-boosting glory, but I'm a humble man! ).
In the end, it has been an amazing trip, an unforgettable week - and we would not change a thing. We have made friends , had adventures, and in one case, caught a fish bare handed. We'd really like to thank everyone at the University of Sydney Business School who made this trip possible, especially Prof. Philip Seltsikas, the Associate Dean, Barney Tan- our advisor and the team at the business school's Marketing and External Relations office. Without them this trip would not be possible, and their level of support in putting this together has been unbelievable. Thank you for what will be an unforgettable experience. It is extremely appreciable that the University of Sydney Business School continues to remain a wonderful institution that supports initiatives like this.
And now back to Australia, to face all the mid semesters that have reared their calculus based heads...