UCT Allan Gray Fellows Craig Lai King & Sakhile Mabena head to Hong Kong for the KPMG International Case Challenge.
Story originally posted by Carolyn McGibbon via UCT’s Faculty of Commerce.
Two of the most talented final year Business Science students have progressed to the finals of the KPMG International Case Challenge in Hong Kong on April 18 where they will compete against students from 19 other countries. They are Craig Lai King and Sakhile Mabena‚ fellows of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellowship‚ as well as chair and vice-chair on the Commerce Students Council last year.
The Dean of Commerce Professor Don Ross said: “There is no doubt that the multidisciplinary nature of our Business Science degree gave the students a competitive advantage because it enabled them to have a wide perspective and the ability to think innovatively”.
The duo‚ who are Finance and Accounting majors‚ said studying in the Faculty of Commerce had inspired a passion to develop and to actively seek out opportunities. When the KPMG International Case Challenge presented itself to them‚ they knew this was too good an opportunity to let out of their grasp.
On entering the competition‚ they were motivated to consider their competitive edge as well as reflecting on their development areas. Said Craig: “We understood the importance of a large network base and the competition presented the perfect forum to extend this base. Advancing to Hong Kong and being able to engage‚ compete and learn with some of the brightest minds from all over the world will most certainly hold us in good stead later in our professional lives. ”
The journey to Hong Kong began with a series of challenges against 70 other students in South Africa who analysed the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy group and its position within the Japanese market.
Craig said: “During the regional stage of the competition‚ we were required to analyse the business operations of an existing company and recommend a suitable strategy to be implemented to improve on the existing business model. This strategy was presented to a mock board of directors – consisting of senior level KPMG managers and partners. Based on the strength of your idea generation‚ lateral thinking and presentation skills‚ the board chose 32 individuals to participate in the national finals held at the head KPMG office in Johannesburg.
The next step of the competition involved evaluating the BP group and suggesting a strategy for the company following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. A group of four were chosen out of the stiff competition‚ the two best friends emerged triumphant. Not only will Craig and Sakhile be representing UCT but also South Africa. They will be competing against 19 other countries for bragging rights and title of KICC victors.
Craig concluded: “UCT provided us with the skills and knowledge not only applicable to the lecture hall but also the commercial world we will find ourselves in the not to distant future; basic presentation skills‚ developing the confidence to being able to speak in a public forum and communicate professionally.