CUSCS wins with cheerful ideas
The sub-degree student teams at the ACCA Hong Kong Business Competition 2012 finals let their imagination run free in developing ideas for their simulated companies’ business proposals.
“Although the judges challenged the feasibility of these proposals, at the end of the day, creativity remains the most crucial element for this competition. The finalist teams have demonstrated innovative thinking,” said one of the judges, Mark Yeung, director, Assurance, at PwC. “For instance, we really appreciated a proposal that featured the revitalisation of trams, which are a heritage icon of the city.”
The proposals were also in line with the core values of Hong Kong, such as the nurturing of future talent to sustain the development of the local creative industries, Yeung added.
Fellow-judge Serena Tang thought the finalists made a good effort in engaging the audience with interactive elements in their presentations. “Some teams have taken ownership of the stage. They appeared confident and enjoyed the presentations on stage,” said Tang, a senior consultant at Michael Page Hong Kong.
Nearly 400 teams entered the competition’s sub-degree category this year, and five were shortlisted for the finals. After some lively presentations and fielding questions from the panel of judges, the team from The Chinese University of Hong Kong – School of Continuing & Professional Studies (CUSCS) won the top prize. The team members – Bella Chen Chor-yiu, Cecilia Chan Hoi-ying and Winky Li Wan-ki – are all pursuing a Higher Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management.
The Best Presenter, Bella Chen, stood out because she not only gave thoughtful answers to judges’ questions with clarity, she was also able to combine them with a brief summary of the points provided by her teammates, noted William Mak, chairman of ACCA Hong Kong. “It shows her excellent grasp of the team’s proposal and our questions. Her performance was well-rounded,” he added.
Chen thanked the team’s CUSCS coach, Ferrix Lau, who stayed behind after school to listen to their rehearsals and grill them with possible questions from the judges. “I also owe my performance to the experience in projects and conducting presentations accumulated over the past few years at school,” Chen said. “As part of our practice, we did unscheduled rehearsals before students who are not in our class. I recited my parts during train rides to help me overcome my fear of speaking in front of a crowd.”
Chan, one of her teammates, said their being tourism-major students enabled them to enrich their proposal with some elements unique to the tourism sector. “For instance, we have proposed pitching our ‘Happy Washroom’ creative comics concept to hotels and exhibition centres that receive many overseas visitors,” Chan said, adding that their presentation highlighted this strategy as a way of cultivating the image of Hong Kong as a cheerful city.
For her part, Li paid tribute to their great team spirit. “We have learned to resolve conflicts. As we brainstormed for ideas together, we have learned to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of all ideas to select the best ones. It is a great mutual learning experience.”
Another judge, Alice Cheng – senior manager, audit, at KPMG – said the champions were well-prepared and maintained a smooth, natural flow throughout their presentation. “Their proposal features a comprehensive analysis that covers corporate social responsibility in addition to business strategies,” she said.
“It took a great deal of courage to conduct a presentation in front of an audience of strangers. I am glad to see the finalist teams being so confident on stage, bolstered by thorough research and good preparations,” said Cheng, who had also participated in the Inter-tertiary Competition organised by ACCA Hong Kong. “Participants can share the advice and suggestions for improvement with their coaches and fellow students so that the future entrants will benefit from their experience.”
The other judges were Dr Darwin Chen, vice-president for culture at UNESCO Hong Kong Association, and Jenny Tsang, manager for funding at CreateHK.