Annual contest hits a landmark
Following the announcement of the winners of this year's contest, Simon Chung, managing director and head of corporate bank, global banking, at Citi, was delighted to acknowledge the 2012 event as a major landmark in the evolution of the CICC.
The bank has sponsored the competition, which was launched in 2003, in each of the 10 years it has been held.
"This is very much what we should be doing," Chung said. "It's a great community-building effort and education is always a top priority for us in terms of our community programme. We're so proud to be involved with this great event."
Seasoned CICC judges have seen teams become more and more sophisticated and professional over the years.
Professor Leonard Cheng, dean of the HKUST Business School, has officiated at the last five contests. "The quality of these contests has got better and better," he said. "We're also expanding our reach. This year, we have a team from Africa for the first time and new participants from Australia."
The competition now attracts teams from universities in five continents. "The CICC is a great chance for students to exchange ideas, interact and make friends with other students from different cultural and religious backgrounds. This is a great part of the experience," Cheng said.
"A lot of students from the renowned institutions taking part will become leaders in business, finance or even government. This contest allows our students and our academic faculties to interact with these visitors," he added.
Cheng said the choice of companies that competing teams get to examine has been a major reason for the CICC's global popularity.
While this year's case came from the TV and multimedia industry, last year participants worked on Hongkong International Terminals' cargo-handling business. Other companies that have taken part in the past include Café de Coral, Towngas and Ocean Park.
Cheng has seen HKUST's Business School benefit in a number of ways through its involvement with the CICC. "A competition like this also helps us build our reputation among local companies, as we engage their CEOs and top executives as judges. That helps them to understand the quality of our students, which may well assist our graduates when they look for jobs."
Chung believes Citi is a particularly apt sponsor for this sort of competition. "Banks connect various parts of the economy, while this contest connects the academic world with real businesses and enables students to apply what they've learned from their textbooks to real-life cases," he said.
"Ultimately, it is not really a matter of who takes the trophy home. It is more about how much students can gain through the whole experience," Chung added.
"Every year, the students impress us with their incredible energy and their eagerness to explore new ideas. We always find it amazing the amount of pressure they are able to endure during the competition."