Management Competition makes confident UAE debut

Muzaffar Rizvi / 9 November 2013

Students and professionals show interest in international programme. University students and professionals in management and strategy are showing a keen interest in an international competition programme being introduced in the UAE for the first time. The organisers of Global Management Challenge (GMC) are confident of the competition’s success in the UAE and plan to roll out the programme in Saudi Arabia and Oman next year. “We are keen to make the UAE competition a success and next year we will be launching the competition in Saudi Arabia and Oman. Our strategy will continue to be one of engagement with the local media, corporates and educational institutions to achieve success through a collaborative model. Our emphasis will be to enhance management skills and competencies in the markets that we enter and focus closely on developing local talent,” Pedro Alves Costa, chief executive of SDG — Simuladores e Modelos de Gestão, organisers of Global Management Challenge throughout the world, told Khaleej Times during an interview.

The Global Management Challenge is an annual competition that is held locally in over 30 countries around the world and then in April of the following year an International Competition is held in a different city of the world every year. The last International Competition was held in Bucharest, Romania, and was won by the Ukrainian team.

“The Global Management Challenge operates in more than 30 countries with participating teams of university students and young managers. Each year approximately 50,000 participants take part in the competition across the world,” he said.

“This is the first time we are launching this competition in the UAE. Our local partners are discussing collaboration with government entities and student organisations within UAE to help publicise the event,” he added.

He said Kuwait and Qatar have recently joined Global Management Challenge and Saudi Arabia and Oman will join it next year.
Excerpts from the interview:

Could you please explain the concept of Global Management Challenge?

The Global Management Challenge is a strategic management competition for managers and university students. Participants form teams of three to five members, and each team is placed in a group of five to eight teams. The teams are then given a virtual company, initially identical to every other company in the competition. Each team then develops their company by making a series of decisions relating to every aspect of the business, such as how many machines to buy, or how much to spend on advertising. In each round, five sets of decisions are taken, corresponding to five quarters.

These decisions are then run through sophisticated business simulation software, which generates in-depth ‘Management Reports’, showing the consequences of the decisions. The aim is to finish the game with the highest share-price on the virtual stock exchange.

Managing a company in a simulated environment and taking top management decisions, gives the participants the ability to analyse financial and economic indicators, broaden their views on corporate strategy, interact with the different functional areas of a company, deal with customer satisfaction issues and become aware of the impact of their decisions on the organisation itself, within an environment designed to encourage and develop teamwork.

You are going to introduce the competition in the UAE for the first time. Would you please like to share some details in this regard?

The challenge is open to university students and professionals. We have received considerable interest from universities as well as from companies who see this as an exceptional opportunity for training in management and strategy.

In addition, we are specifically focussing on the participation of Emirati students. This will be an excellent opportunity for Emirati students to get a taste of how a private company is managed and to sharpen their entrepreneurial and management skills.

What is the eligibility criteria to join the competition?

The challenge is based on a complex model and therefore generally university students and young professionals take part in it. In addition there are often mixed teams of students and professionals who take part. Each team comprises a minimum of three and a maximum of five members.

What is the time line of this challenge in the UAE? When the UAE team will compete with other international teams to qualify for world title in Russia?

The challenge is scheduled to start with a trial run from January 2014. The trial run will be for a three-week period and will provide an orientation to the challenge for the participants; no winner or loser will be declared at the end of the trial run. From February 2014 the competition will start in earnest and after five weeks the winners of round one will be announced. The winners will then participate in a one-day national final event where the winning team of the UAE national final will be determined. The UAE national final winning team will then participate in the International Competition in Sochi, Russia, in April 2014.

What is competition format? Is it the same in all participating nations or differs from region to region?

Each team comprises a minimum of three and a maximum of five members. The participating teams are allocated to groups of up to eight teams each. Round one comprises an online competition of teams within each group. Round two takes place as an online competition of winning teams from Group 1. The National final is an onsite competition between the winning teams of Group 2. The winning team of the National final takes part in the international final. The format is essentially the same in all the countries. However, the number of rounds may differ depending on the number of participating teams and also each country determines its own timelines which all coincide to send the National winning teams to the International final in April each year.

Do you have a charge/fee to participate in the competition? Is it payable by institutions or individual?

We have a participation fees for the competition. The starting fees for a student team (three to five participants) is Dh5,000, for a corporate sponsored team it is Dh10,000 and the fees for open registrations, i.e. teams that neither comprise students nor financed by corporates is Dh7,500. There are discounts available for registration of four and more teams and for teams with at least three Emirati participants.

In addition, as this is the first year of the competition, our local UAE partners have made a unique offer to all the UAE universities of guaranteed free entry for up to two teams nominated by each university. Our local partners will seek sponsors for such entries but if this is not possible then they will absorb the fees.

Our fees are very competitive in comparison with other training offerings and cover the entire period of challenge from December to March 2013 and are inclusive of participation costs for the UAE national winning team to the international final in Sochi Russia, in April 2014.

How important is this competition in brand building?

The competition provides its sponsors substantial brand building opportunity by providing them a platform to present their brand to an audience of students, faculty, professionals and companies for a considerable period of five to six months. A large part of the exposure is through the digital media but also there is considerable emphasis on conventional media such as print, radio and TV. In addition, during this period we also hold two events where our sponsors have the opportunity to present their brand directly to the public.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com

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