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MBA challenge: unlock the potential of cellphones

Carol Ko | Nov. 18, 2008
Students worldwide compete to solve real-life business challenge.

HONG KONG, 18 NOVEMBER 2008 A joint MBA competition themed Unlock the potential of mobile phones' has just started with the aim to identify the business leaders of the future.

Microsoft and Beijing-based Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business is co-hosting this MBA competition in China for the first time, by combining two highly successful competitions: Cheung Kong GSB's East-West MBA All-Star Case Challenge, and Microsoft's Firenze series of real-life business challenges.

Cheung Kong GSB is China's first private, non-profit, and independent business school. Headquartered in Beijing with campuses in Shanghai and Guangzhou, Cheung Kong GSB offers MBA, EMBA, and executive education programmes. It was founded in Beijing in 2002 by Hong Kong's tycoon Li Ka-shing.

This joint competition is designed to give MBA students the opportunity to work together to solve a current, real-life business challenge. Invitations for this year's competition were distributed to universities around the world to gather the best talent from the East and the West. A record number of 19 teams from 14 universities based in China, India, Korea, Singapore and the US are taking part this year.

The job market is hugely competitive, especially in these times of economic uncertainty. The competition provides participants with a unique perspective on solving a real-life case study and will help them gain an edge in the marketplace. The topic of the case study will also give students insight into the world of opportunity that exists in the mobile phone industry, said Sun Baohong, associate dean and professor of marketing, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

Firenze's business challenges are based on very real issues and scenarios that we are strategically tackling as a company, said Norm Judah, chief technology officer, Microsoft Services and executive sponsor of Microsoft Firenze. Looking back at the past two years, the proposals from students provided us with a different and fresher perspective on the problem, in many cases more creative than what we would have developed ourselves.

Mobile phone business challenge

This year's business topic, revealed to students on 15 November, was to unlock the potential of mobile phones'. Their challenge was to reach out to five million students worldwide through their mobile phones. The teams have to ensure a 20 per cent conversion rate to a new service of their own making. The winners will be given an opportunity to collaborate with teams at Microsoft to have a chance to deliver the total package within a budget of US$20,000.

In the initial round, 19 teams of four MBA students each will fly to China to present their plans in front of a panel of judges on 5 January 2009. The panel comprises senior Microsoft executives and experts from Cheung Kong GSB, who will ensure that all proposals are reviewed for business, creative and technical proficiency.

 

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