Team AGSM excels at NUS ‘Cerebration’ case competition

Thursday, 21 November 2013  Features

AGSM MBA students Coco Liu, Venkat Krishnan and Jeroen Lubbers have beaten over 650 teams to clinch a spot in Round 2 of Cerebration, one of the world's biggest business case competitions for MBA students.

As one of the 45 teams in the second round, Team AGSM stands to be selected by judges to be one of the nine teams flown to Singapore to compete in the finals, which will take place later in November 2013.

Hosted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, Cerebration 2013 is organised entirely by NUS MBA students. This year, teams from over 24 countries, which include students from 28 out of the Financial Times' top 50 MBA programs, competed against each other to design implementable and innovative solutions to business challenges. The case challenges were provided by industry leaders such as Daimler Financial Services, Lenovo and Monsanto, which are also sponsors of the event.

Team AGSM chose to tackle the issues around the future of personal mobility on behalf of Daimler Financial Services and impressed Round 1 judges with their solution.

The brief was to create a once-in-a-lifetime individual ecosystem-based solution that will forever change the way we look at transport in emerging mega-cities in the year 2020.

Working together for the first time, Coco and Jeroen from the MBA (Executive) program and Venkat from the full-time MBA cohort, said the frameworks and learnings from their AGSM programs helped them quickly form strong working relationships and deliver robust strategies for tackling the case.

The team identified a number of major transport and infrastructure issues that are prevalent in mega-cities like Mumbai and Shanghai. These included pollution, heat and too many cars that cause congestion and traffic jams. The solution they came up with was a unique concept called the Mobicar: a trike which is enclosed on all sides. Fully air-conditioned ​and much narrower than a car, this two or three-seater trike was the team's potential solution for solving traffic congestions in emerging mega-cities.

While Coco and Venkat developed the go-to market strategies for the concept, Jeroen took the lead on the presentation aspect of the case.

Venkat said the team's experiences at AGSM so far had contributed to their success in the competition.

"The frameworks we learn in the strategy classes, coupled with the various marketing concepts that have been introduced to us, helped clarify exactly how to tackle ambiguous situations during the case competition," said Venkat.

"It was a very challenging experience sitting thousands of kilometres away from our comfort zones, trying to solve cases without really feeling and understanding first-hand the problems people face in these emerging economies.

"Bringing together different perspectives from the AGSM MBA programs really helped our team in the brainstorming sessions and I believe this was the key to our innovative solution."

Teams progressing to the finals of the competition will be announced at the end of November. These teams will present their solutions to a distinguished panel judges that include the Cerebration 2013 sponsors, previous competition winners and leaders of the Singapore business community.