On Friday 13th June 2014, four UCL Students saw off 139 other university teams from across the UK to gain third place in the CIMA global business challenge UK final – a brilliant success in such a competitive competition. As well as this, the team (consisting of Menghui Wu, Lifeng Ye, Shihui Xu and Hanshuang Shen) also achieved the accolade of ‘Best Team Report’ out of all entrants. A fantastic and inspiring achievement, UCL Careers found out what made the team take part, the skills they’ve picked up both individually and as a team (and used to get so far!) as well as how valuable they thought being involved in a business competition is.
Could you tell us a little about what you are studying (and how this has helped you during the challenge)?
All four of us are full-year affiliate students here from the same base university, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. I [Shihui] study Banking and International Finance back in Shanghai and here I’m doing Economics. Lifeng does Finance as well while Hanshuang and Menghui do Accounting. We have a common business-related background but specialise in different aspects, which allows us to see a ‘case’ from different angles and to form a bigger picture together.
What inspired you to take on the challenge?
We’ve wanted to do something to sharpen our skills and add some valuable experiences to our CVs (it’s all been very practical!) and a business game seemed like the ideal opportunity. The challenge organiser, CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accounting) is a big organisation of good reputation in the industry and their challenge is always tough but rewarding. So we thought why not!
Tell us about what the challenge specifically involved and what you as a team have achieved.
In this challenge, we played the role of a consulting firm to help a client, which is facing several strategic of financial issues. It’s just like a case study, but with more dimensions. In the first round, we were asked to hand in a report and in the UK Final, we did a presentation as well.
What have you got out of the experience?
It’s a very good opportunity to get some idea about how to be a good consultant and how to think like a real business leader. We’ve all learnt to think logically, think broadly, and deliver ideas to customers in an authentic environment. It’s especially helpful to those who want to study CIMA. We also got to network with a lot of top professionals during the UK Final.
Any advice you’d give to students considering taking part?
First of all, form a reliable and diversified team to help develop ideas from different perspectives, and secondly, put yourself in the client’s shoes to see if your work delivers value to them. For the first round of the competition, the only assessment will be the report you hand in. So make sure it has a clear structure and neat layout.