Winners flex their managerial muscles in the HKMA annual Management Game
Aiming to be one of the most sophisticated and challenging management training exercises in the world, the Hong Kong Management Association’s (HKMA) annual Management Game allows professionals to test their business skills in a risk-free simulated commercial environment.
Launched in 1971, the online competition tests participants’ ability to integrate financial, production, investment and marketing skills and knowledge to make effective business decisions and gain market capacity. The HKMA says the game allows participants to test their management skills without the risk of losing money or the fear of failure.
This year, the 20 participating teams each had to run a pet food manufacturing business with retail outlets and sell a line of pet accessories purchased from another manufacturer. Following a two-week elimination round, five teams, each with four members, tried to outmanoeuvre each other. The teams submitted their commercial decisions by email once a week, and the team that generated the highest profit over a three month period won the contest.
This year’s winning team, KTMC Boy — named after Maryknoll Convent School in Kowloon Tong — made a profit of HK$31.3 million and took the top spot ahead of Starter, the first runner-up from the SAR Government, and the second place runner-up team from Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (HACTAL).
“We try to produce a game that comes as close as possible to the real world of business,’’ says game designer Russell Morris, stressing that the game enables participants to test and hone their business skills and learn the importance of working together as a team.
“Bringing together four people from different functions and creating an intense game environment allows them to gain a better understanding of how functions work across organisations,’’ Morris says.
This year’s game focused on pets because of Hong Kong’s growing love for dogs. “The pet food industry is a topic that everyone can relate to and we could make realistically challenging,’’ says Morris, adding that the task of selling pet accessories gave the game a new dimension.
“Similar to the way many Hong Kong businesses operate, we wanted to see how teams would handle cross-selling to expand market share and how they would cope when competitors introduce new products that disrupt the traditional market,” Morris says.
At the awards ceremony, HKMA council member Dr Albert Ma Hon-ning congratulated the winning teams on their acumen in business and the competitive way they navigated the game, using management tools to formulate successful business strategies.
First-time entrant Chloe Chan Sin-man, one of four friends who formed the SAR Government team that took the second prize, says taking part in the competition was an enlightening experience. “There were a lot of different aspects in the game, which meant we really had to pull together the different skills our team members could offer,” says Chan, who is looking forward to competing again next year.
Ryan Leung Hon-wah, a member of the HACTAL team, which took the third prize, says the game provided an opportunity to take risks and try out different management strategies.
“We backed ourselves to perform well towards the end of the competition because we were prepared to take risks while planning for some worst-case scenarios,” says Leung, who adds that the team’s members work in HACTAL’s human resources, IT, commercial and operations departments, and were able to make use of their cross-functional knowledge and experience.
The game was sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways, AS Watson, Crown Worldwide and Pfizer. The official media partners were the South China Morning Post, Classified Post and Jiu Jik.
HKMA Management Game winners say teamwork is a crucial competitive tool
Maryknoll Convent alumni Louis Ho Yun-lung and Eric Chan Kwok-san scooped the HKMA Management Game for the fifth time last Saturday as founding members of KTMC Boy, the team named after their alma mater.
The duo, who have now competed in the games nine times alongside a range of different team members, bagged the first prize in this year’s contest by keeping a close watch on statistics while using their business skills and working closely together as a team.
“We had to carefully analyse the statistics while monitoring market trends to make sure we were able to make the right business decisions,” says Chan. While there were many factors involved in the decision process, good teamwork was “essential”, Chan says.
Participants in the online game were required to manage a fictitious pet food company. Each team faced the same simulated challenges: they had to create strategies to increase their market share, decide whether to launch marketing campaigns and find the best ways to generate profit.
Ho says they needed to ensure that every decision was cost-efficient. “We put a lot of effort into our teamwork, which was key to our decision-making processes,” he says. For instance, after evaluating the risks and rewards, the team decided to hold back on launching several marketing campaigns.
“We took a very profit-orientated approach and made decisions based on our endgame strategies,” says Ho.
KTMC Boy won HK$10,000 and four business class tickets to Singapore. They were also presented with the South China Morning Post Perpetual Trophy.
“The game is a lot of fun and we want to carry on participating,” Chan says.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Strategised for success.