No sugar-coating rocky road to the NZ Champions Trophy

By UNSW Media  Friday, 7 February 2020  @Business School

​William Zhou, Charmaine Batulan, Brian Burfitt, Kshitij (Sid) Prasad, and Edward Ren.

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​UNSW Business School students competed in the Champions Trophy Case Competition in Auckland New Zealand, from January 26th – February 1, 2020. This is the second year in a row that UNSW Business School has qualified and competed, and UNSW was the sole Australian representative.

The University of Auckland is known for hosting the 'best of the best' international case competition teams in this annual event. To qualify, teams must win one of the ten highest-ranked competitions worldwide (including UNSW's AUBCC competition) or have consistently performed very well on the business case competition circuit.

School of Accounting lecturers Jeff Coulton and Brian Burfitt selected and coached students William Zhou, Charmaine Batulan, Kshitij (Sid) Prasad, and Edward Ren (pictured above, left to right) to compete in the Champions Trophy.

The University of Auckland welcomed all business case competitors with a traditional Powhiri at the University Marae. The students were then able to see Auckland from a number of different perspectives including a bungy jump or climb on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

In a positive start to the competition, the UNSW Business School team impressed judges to win Round One. The team had five hours to decide how The Remarkable Chocolate Company should develop their business. They advised expansion into a new global market supported by venture capital investment and finished first in their pool.

In Round Two, the challenge was to provide a strategy for building and engaging a sustainable fan base for current America's Cup global sailing competition trophy holders, Emirates Team New Zealand. The UNSW Business School team pitched their solution, following a 40-minute delay stuck in an elevator with two other teams, to place second in their pool.

Round Three saw the team placing second overall in the cumulative results, earning a wildcard entry opportunity for the finals round. The challenge was to advise Mainfreight, a global supply chain logistics provider, to maintain sustainable business growth into new global markets while maintaining their unique corporate culture and reaching a new revenue target by 2021.

After deliberating for five hours with no internet and basic calculators, as per the competition rules, the UNSW team pitched their idea. The judging panel provided forceful challenges and strong feedback to all competing teams. UNSW's competitors incorporated that feedback into their presentation for the wildcard round but were unsuccessful in reaching the finals.

"Our team is disappointed having started so well," Brian Burfitt said.

"But I am so proud of their resilience and the way that they responded to the challenges placed in front of them. The competition, including all of the training sessions, was a great learning experience for them."

UNSW Business School students are next competing in the Heavener International Case Competition hosted by the University of Florida in Gainesville, USA; and the BI International Case Competition hosted by BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo. 

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