Stellar Performance by SMU's MBA Team at the 2017 NC State Grand Business Challenge

7 Nov 2017

The Singapore Management University’s MBA team turned in a stellar performance at the 2017 NC State Grand Business Challenge, fending off fierce competition from international universities to clinch the first runner-up position. 

Focusing on IT security, the NC State Grand Business Challenge introduces MBA students to the pharmaceutical industry and presents an opportunity to gain exposure and insight into real-world business challenges, while evaluating how they react under pressure. SMU’s Class of MBA students Maoying He, Piush Kansal, Sobhith and Syed Shahid of Team Bizoops, who participated in the challenge, kept their cool to emerge victorious. The team, mentored by Dr. Ang Ser-Keng, presented three different back-to-back challenges (Foundation, Succession and Grand), in North Carolina, United States from 2 to 4 November, 2017.

SMU was the only school from Asia in the NC State Grand Business Challenge competing against nine other American and European business schools such as Boston University, John Hopkins University, NC State University, University of Economics Prague. Sponsored by Merck & Co., the NC State Grand Business Challenge is designed to offer postgraduate students worldwide an opportunity to identify an area of improvement in the manufacturing domain of the Life Sciences industry, propose a technology based innovative solution and conduct cyber risk analysis. Team Bizoops addressed the issue of counterfeiting of drugs using Blockchain technology followed by the detailed cyber security analysis of the proposed solution.

When the competition kicked off in October 2017, participating teams were required to submit presentations for the first Foundation Challenge. Team Bizoops flew to North Carolina to pitch their solution to an audience of cyber security consultants, IT directors and Operations & Risk management leaders.

Post Foundation Challenge, the organizers released a second Succession Challenge. The stringent judging criteria in both rounds tested participating teams’ perseverance. The judges for the first two challenges hailed from Merck & Co., Cisco systems, EY Consulting and Booz Allen Commercial Services and teams were judged on creativity, depth of analysis, impact, Q&A and overall delivery.  In the third and final Grand Challenge, the teams shortlisted were given the opportunity to pitch their final proposals to a judging panel comprising C-Suite executives from Merck.

Member of Team Bizoops unanimously agreed that the Challenge was a memorable experience that not only pitted their wits against strong competitors, but served to complement the MBA curriculum with hands-on and practical case scenarios.

Sharing about lessons learnt from taking part in the challenge, team leader Piush commented, “One of the major challenge was that none of our team members come from IT background but that gave us an opportunity to learn more about the technologies and stay focused towards our approach. We met relevant consultants and experts on Blockchain that gave us an edge in our proposed solution”.

“During this roller coaster journey we learnt a lot from each of our team members, mentors and other participants.” said Maoying. 


Featured photo: (L-R) Sobhith Komalavally Hariharan, Syed Shahid, He Maoying and Piush Kansal did SMU proud by clinching the first runner-up position at the 2017 NC State Grand Business Challenge.

Last updated on 21 Nov 2017.

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