News & Events

Grand Slam in Academic Cup 2014

27 September 2014

The annual Academic Cup was held on 27 September 2014. The GBS teams again became the top 3 winners, Michael Ng from Batch 7 also won the prize of the Best Presenter. The event was featured in the “Spotlight” section of the CU iBus, the Undergraduate Program newsletter, which is reproduced below.

The annual Academic Cup was held successfully with the participation of over 200 students in 57 teams. This year’s case, Haier in India: Building Presence in a Mass Market Beyond China, evaluated the strategies Haier adopted in its business expansion into India. Students were encouraged to assess the effectiveness of Haier’s business decisions and processes.

After two presentation rounds, the judging panel of 22 judges selected three teams with the best performance:

Champion: Alice & Co.
(From left: Law Ka Kit (GBS, Year 4), Ng Lam Kwan (GBS, Year 4), Kung Tin Wai (GBS, Year 2), Choi Che Fung (GBS, Year 4))

1st Runner-Up: ACUPella
(From 2nd left: Kwok Hoi Kit Victor (GBS, Year 4), Lau Sing Ho Alex (IBBA, Year 4), Wong Cho Yan Claudia (IBCE, Year 2), Yip Chung Yam Vincent (GBS, Year 4))

2nd Runner Up: Shark
(From left: Tsoi Yi Seen, Gladys (GBS, Year 1), Chiu Mei Ka, Yody (GBS, Year 1), Ko Yan Kiu, Kristy (GBS, Year 1), Wong Wan Chun, Timothy (GBS, Year 1))

We asked Alice & Co., winners of this year’s Academic Cup, to share with us their experiences.

This year’s case is about the Chinese electronics and home appliances firm Haier’s expansion into India. What is the major challenge in this case?

The major obstacle is our lack of familiarity with the Indian market and the competitive landscape there. As India is a huge market with a lot of sub segments, we spent quite a bit of time on understanding the market.

What was the first thing that you did after the case was announced?

We read through the case, initially diving the analysis into parts. Then each of us researched our assigned part.

Is this year’s competition intense? What did you think about your fellow competitors?

The competition is definitely keen. The finalist teams performed brilliantly and gave very sensible analyses with well planned strategies. They also did a great job in their respective presentations.

Which element(s) do you think made your proposal stand out from the others and win you the championship?

On content, we thoroughly analysed the current position of Haier India and gave corresponding solutions. We supported our recommendations with market research and financial modelling. Regarding presentation, we sought to professionalize our deck through a well thought out story line.

As you all have substantial experience in case competitions, what advice would you give to students who are new to them?

Reiterating the judges’ comments, we believe students might want to identify who the audience is. In this case we focused on high level analysis and targeted recommendations to senior managers of Haier India instead of tactical or operational solutions. Another idea is to participate in more case competitions to learn from other teams. Each team has their strengths and weaknesses.

Michael was also awarded the prize for best presenter. Any personal tips on presentation?

The key to good presentation is to effectively communicate your ideas to the audience. It is important to think from your audience’s perspective to see if they can really understand and follow your logical flow. Make good use of volume, topic sentence, choosing words appropriately, and emphasis. Crucial is pausing after each important point to allow the audience to digest what you discussed. Most importantly, it is a must to rehearse over and over with your team.

The judges’ comments echo Michael’s advice on the important of team working, stating that teams should having their own presentation style and dress code. Moreover, they stressed that teams should focus more on identifying the key issues instead of merely re-organizing the information stated in the case materials.

Another team, Shark, is delighted they won second runner up considering this Academic Cup was their very case competition. “We recognized we were too fresh to be able to win against other, more experienced teams in terms of content. Therefore we spent a lot of time on our presentation and delivery.” Being the “newcomers” to case competition, they had their own way in preparing for the case. Instead of splitting the workload and working individually, “we chose to do everything together to make sure our logical flow stayed the same. As it was our first case competition, we especially needed each other’s presence and support.”

We hope that these comments from the winning teams and the judges can be useful references for you in future Academic Cups and other case competitions.

Group photo at the Academic Cup 2014

The original article can be accessed here.

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