Our Success Story of the Global Management Challenge 2010/2011 Final

This is a story about how our team without any previous experience went to China and did a great job. Now you will be able to imagine what awaits you if you take the competition seriously and work hard to be the best.

If you want to know more about sucessful strategy for the competition and learn some tips, you can visit GMCHelper.com – a site about Global Management Challenge with software, reports and manuals that will help you to achieve success.

4. 4. 2011 – Preparations for the finale of the Global Management Challenge

The whole week will be dedicated to the international final round of the Global Management Challenge 2010/2011 in China, Macau. We realize that the success of GMC in Czech Republic is not enough to guarantee a good placement. Jirka works on the analyzer in Java, thanks to which we will be able to estimate the price elasticity of the product, impact of the advertising, number of distributors and their commission and support or investment into the web pages from the number of orders for products. Kuba and Kuba work on the effectiveness of our support tools in Excel and Vita is processing hundreds of reports, which we want to study. My role is to organize and communicate further with the teams around the world – Russia, Poland, Slovakia or as far as Africa.

6. 4. 2011 – Shooting with Czech TV

We enjoy the shooting about GMC for the TV show Economy+ that lasts whole day. Promised footage is 9 minutes, we shoot inside the school, canteen, main square in Pilsen, city orchards or in the front of the university building creating a stir and enjoying ourselves. The TV crew of Czech Television promises it will be amazing. It looks truly great at the end. You can watch it here, unfortunatelly only in Czech language.

8. 4. 2011 – Training course with Seznam.cz

We spent half a day in Prague in the offices of Seznam company, a leading web portal in the Czech Republic with the highest number of monthly visitors of all Czech sites. Their own trainer Ivo prepared a course for us related to team work, communication and decision-making under stress. This should help us in Global Management Challenge. It is during our exercises that we learn how good we are as a team. Some results of our activities even threaten their company records. Then Irena and Veronika show us the premises of Seznam, we talk to people in all departments asking any questions we want. We believe that we made a good impression here.

10. 4. 2011 – Flight to Asia

We fly. Well, first we meet in Pilsen jumping to Kuba‘s Ford and driving to Prague. Our plane takes of sometime after 16:00 heading to the first stop in Dubai. We arrive in Dubai during night time and it is raining, which we consider unusual for this place. We spend 3 hours at the airport and then continue with Emirates airlines to Bangkok trying to tune all our GMC Excel models during the flight. The food is wonderful.

Almost all of the passengers of the plane changes at Bangkok airport. The majority of new passengers are Chinese and the whole plane gets cleaned up. Finally, our last stop after the never ending flight is Hong Kong. We meet the group from Benin at the airport and start to chat. It is not hard since they are really talkative and we discover that we will board the same ferry to Macau together. It is already Monday, late evening. We stay at a five star hotel Regency in Taipa island in Macau. The five stars wouldn’t stand the chance somewhere else, it should be 3+ we guess. We also discover the cost of Wi-Fi for one day is about the same as for one month in this hotel as back home.

12. 4. 2011 – Drawing of the Groups and First Steps in Macau

The semi-final groups of the Global Management Chalenge are drawn. Some of the countries look like a real challenge and we await the composition of our group #1 in suspense. The teams from China, Russia, Ukraine and Poland are especially strong. It’s already too bad that Polish students compete for 3 countries (Poland, Slovakia and Denmark) and Chinese even for 5 (China, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia and France). At the end we have quite a reasonable group, where Macau is clear favorite, and we expect Germany and Denmark to be strong too.

The groups are as follows:

Group #1 Group #2 Group #3 Group #4
Czech Republic Ukraine P.R. China Poland
Macau Romania Hong Kong Latvia
Italy Mexico India France
Turkey Australia Greece Hungary
Belarus Spain Portugal Russia
Denmark Benin Slovakia Brazil
Germany

 

We go for a little sightseeing during the day. Regency Hotel was kind of ok, but the surroundings show us immediately that the local neighborhood has two faces. The countryside has Orwell-like character. Huge dirty blocks of flats with tiny windows, massive cranes and dug out ground around. No grass, just a single tree here and there. Not far from here stands a neglected scrap yard. Although the blocks can accommodate loads of people there is no one on the street. And there in the brown sky the sun covered by smog watches over this. My first thought is – this must be George Orwell‘s 1984.

Our visit to McDonald‘s follows. Everything looks just the same as in any McDonald‘s back home, only the fries are undone. Since we will spend most of our time in McDonald‘s, we have to get used to it. We come up with the health and safety procedures that involves washing our hands on the toilet, avoid touching the handles, picking the tray with food carefully and then using the disinfectant prior to the consumption. If this wasn‘t McDonald‘s, we would probably come up with something much more strict. The reason we do this is because we have almost no vaccination that is recommended for Macau.

We work on improving our models back in the hotel. Vita decides to find a public library with an internet access, his guide is a girl-student appointed to us before the groups have been drawn. Each country has its own person, who looks after contestants during their stay. Vita managed to catch several of these, so there is no wonder he comes back from the library after several hours.

13. 4. 2011 – Semi-Finals of the Global Management Challenge

Semi-finals. 25 countries divided into 4 groups confront each other today. Everything is at stake. All winners from the national rounds of the Global Management Challenge will compete against each other, the best against the best. This round will deliver eight teams which are the best in business simulation and strategic management, in the world.

Two teams from each group will continue to tomorrow‘s final round and mathematics is relentless. The point of the competition is to reach the highest possible value of the company shares in the last quarter of the company management.

We receive the history of the company that we will manage strategically in its following 5 quarters at 09:00 in the morning. We are shocked as we have never seen the similar scenario before – the company has 3-shift operation and its future outlook doesn‘t look too good. Reaction of the other teams is not that different from ours, it will be important to remain calm.

We have to make decisions about 70 various aspects of the company for the next quarter – number of the machines we’ll buy, number of employees, advertising costs, number of manufactured products and their price, approach to the individual markets (EU, NAFTA, Internet), predict what will competitors do and make our own market forecasts, etc. The most effective is to follow the previously prepared checklist and at first work on estimating demand, since everything else will depend on it. It takes us longer than usual due to the company’s situation. The million dollar question which all teams are trying to answer is the number of the machines their companies need to work with. It is obvious that creating the company to operate in fewer shifts will lower the costs spent on employees’ wages. Next we must reduce working on weekends, which must be better paid and therefore are more costly for the company.

To get to 1 shift seems unreal since we couldn‘t afford to buy the machines due to our borrowing power. We choose to go for 2 shifts with almost doubling the number of machines. The rest goes the standard way – start the image advertising, which has long-term effect. We reduce the direct advertising in NAFTA as it is ineffective at this moment. We increase the number of distributors in EU and slightly reduce dealers in NAFTA, which means we will go sort of Polish-like way.

Since we have some time left, we are trying to plan more quarters, but we’re not fast. Also the estimation of the changes on the market is not easy. You could count on every team playing pretty much the same strategy during the national round of GMC in Czech Republic. No big changes there. But here we expect that each company will be doing something entirely different. It will be much more exciting than usual.

After we hand out the decisions I meet with Russian champion of the Global Management Challenge and we talk about how it went. He is shocked when I reveal the number of machines we decided to buy. It could seem that the decision was not the best one. Our number of the machines in the 2-shift operation wouldn’t be able to handle the production. We should probably buy two more.

The third decision proves the magic of GMC and business. Sometimes people make decisions that may seem wrong, which later pays off. As for the third quarter we can operate with just one shift and we don´t have to fire or hire any workers. And then we will play with 2 shifts from the fourth quarter.

This goes on four more times during one day, the value of the company’s share during the last quarter will decide who will win the challenge.

The results are announced during the formal dinner near the hotel pool. The place is crowded by the contestants, partner companies and organizers. The tension reaches its climax until we finally learn that our team and Macau team will continue to the tomorrow’s final round of the Global Management Challenge.

These are the results of the semifinal round:

  Group #1 Group #2 Group #3 Group #4
1st Macao (1,921) Ukraine (1,889) Slovakia (1,901) Russia (1,766)
2nd Czech Rep. (1,654) Australia (1,586) P.R. China (1,680) Poland (1,623)
3rd Denmark (1,536) Mexico (1,249) Hong Kong (1,671) Brazil (1,597)
4th Germany (1,423) Romania (1,163) Portugal (1,512) France (1,513)
5th Belarus (1,369) Spain (0,977) Greece (1,148) Hungary (1,308)
6th Italy (1,202) Benin (0,758) India (1,000) Latvia (1,168)
7th Turkey (1,074)

 

14. 4. 2011 – Final of the Global Management Challenge

The final of the Global Management Challenge 2010/2011 is here. The group is difficult. Apart from us and Macau, we have China, Russia, Slovakia, Poland, Australia and Ukraine. The scene is similar as yesterday. The competition is huge, and we have a goal again. We aim for the medal.

All teams are fully focused on their work. Polish and Slovakian team brought the monitors to the notebooks. While the Polish from Poland are strongly involved in the task, Polish from Slovakia have time to watch videos, play songs etc. No wonder, they are contestants of the world final for the fourth time.

The team from Russia, one of the biggest favorites, doesn’t look cool. Macau team calculates everything on their calculators and Chinese team is invisible, quite, its contestants are the oldest here.

We manage to plan several quarters ahead and avoid the mistakes we made yesterday during our first decision. The first quarter looks exactly as we wanted. We believe that we can get to the first three places of the world Global Management Challenge. The first bigger mistake appears in the fourth quarter, when we wrongly estimate the behavior of other companies and our company became the most expensive supplier on the market. Because of that our stocks are too big and the profit is too low. We are on the 7th place in the group, but the price of the shares is not that different from others. We still can have a good chance to get the medal.

The fifth quarter goes smoothly. Our change of the price politic boosts the company and we manage to increase the sales and keep the stock on the safe reserves. The profit shoots up and also the other important indicators. But we will discover this when the results are announced.

The announcement of the winners of the international round of the Global Management Challenge takes place in luxurious hotel in the other part of Macau and the magnificent dinner precedes it. All teams are one by one according to their placement in the challenge invited onto the stage. The tension culminates and Czech Republic is still in the game. Third place is announced and with it our name. We are thrilled, leaving behind us the excellent teams. The winner of the challenge is Slovakian team with Polish contestants, who participated in the world finale of GMC several times already. It was the first time we competed and we simply couldn’t reach them, but we congratulate them sincerely. The second place is taken by Macau team with the same price of the shares as is ours. It was really tight and other factor (Net Worth) decided in their favor. We stay for the after party, taking pictures, sharing our experiences with other teams.

I feel sorry for Russian team. Their leader Alexei was amazing and he taught us so much. We prepared the night before finale till three in the morning. Looking at his Excel models that could optimize almost everything, we believed he would succeed. He ended on the fifth place, which is below us and he deserved more. All the small details we implemented in GMC helped us. The checklist for each year created during our planning. The ability to improvise and quickly come up with a solution. The willingness to trust own intuition and risk it, not just rely on the computer. And of course there is the bit of luck.

These are the results of the final round:

  Country
1st Slovakia (2.072)
2nd Macao (1,786)
3rd Czech Republic (1.786)
4th Poland (1.746)
5th Russia (1.725)
6th P.R. China (1.724)
7th Ukraine (1.672)
8th Australia (1.260)

 

15. – 17. 4. 2011 – Macau and Hong Kong

We sleep till lunch the day after the finals making up for the deficit when we slept just 2-3 hours a day. We decide to devote our last three days to Macau and then also to Hong Kong. Apart from the always present smog, through which we can hardly see the sun, it’s beautiful being out here. We admire skyscrapers, casinos, remote alleys, where we can hardly move through the crowd. We wear the t-shirts from Seznam in Macau, which make us look totally compact, creating a diversion for Chinese. We check out the Hong Kong Finance Centre, the Hong Kong park, Victoria Peak which bathes in smog, the biggest Buddha statue and the biggest escalator in the world.

Full of the amazing experiences we return home and cannot wait to share them with the other students and teachers from the Faculty of Economics ZCU in Pilsen. The Global Management Challenge proved to us that when we really try we are able to get to the top.

 

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2 Comments

  1. DAN from Ivory Coast
    Sep 28, 2011

    Nice story and congratulation again.

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