Business students win bright future

by Grace Chan

Winning teams from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Peking University celebrate success
Photos: Wallace Chan

Winners of an annual business plan competition gained valuable knowledge in the process

After three selection rounds, the Chinese University of Hong Kong came out tops in the 23rd KPMG Business Administration (BA) Paper 2008 competition.

A total of 286 teams participated in the competition organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Business Students (HKFBS), an association for more than 10,000 business students from the eight universities in Hong Kong.

The theme of the competition was "tripartite partnership for corporate competitiveness". The competition provides university students with a platform to exchange ideas and network among themselves, the academic and business sectors.

With many of the participating teams entering innovative and concise business plans, the CUHK participants took the honours with their strong presentation skills and exceptional business acumen. Their winning proposal detailed the setting up of a web-based public fundraising platform to accept direct donations for the extracurricular skills development of disadvantaged children.

To broaden the competition's horizons, students from universities in Beijing, Shanghai, Macau and Taiwan had also been invited to participate this year, in a special section for foreign teams.

The Peking University team won this part of the competition for their proposal on starting a venture capital consulting firm, offering effective service packages to help Beijing clients conserve energy.

Thorough preparation

(left to right) Diana Tsui, director, corporate social responsibility
Melissa Wu, partner in-charge, human resources, KPMG China
Edward Chiu, assistant director, career development office, Faculty of Business and Economics, HKU
Four finalist teams attended an oral presentation day comprising presentations and question and answer (Q&A) sessions at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre last Sunday. The Peking University team also delivered their presentation on this occasion.

"During the Q&A session, students had limited time to answer questions. Their performances were remarkable," said Edward Chiu, assistant director, career development office, Faculty of Business and Economics, the University of Hong Kong.

Mr Chiu, who has been part of the judging panel of the competition since its inception 23 years ago, was impressed with the students' exceptional presentation skills, including their oral skills and the use of visual aids.

Melissa Wu, partner in-charge, human resources, KPMG China, added that the students also displayed great confidence. "We gained many innovative ideas from them. Most of their proposals were highly practical and feasible," she noted.

Diana Tsui, director, corporate social responsibility, KPMG China, believed that the winning team's outstanding performance was the result of thorough research and preparation, given that the project topic was unfamiliar to most students and that English was not their mother tongue.

KPMG China was the title sponsor of this year's competition. The firm is offering internships to both the local and foreign winning teams. "We recruit more than 2,000 fresh graduates every year, and the competition provides us with a platform to connect with prospective candidates earlier," explained Ms Wu.

Road to success

"We spent nearly four months preparing and completing our business plan," said global business studies final-year student Oliver Chan, a member of the CUHK winning team.

Ruby Chik, who was also a member of the team, believes that thorough preparation and the feasibility of their proposal helped them win over others. "We drafted a comprehensive list of potential questions and answers in preparation for the oral presentation day," she added.

Lily Hui, another CUHK team member, relished the opportunity to learn from the Peking University team, saying that they provided local participants with a deeper understanding of market opportunities on the mainland.

"The competition helped us realise the importance of thinking practically and dwelling on detail," stated Leung Ka-yan, who is also a member of the CUHK team. "Innovative ideas alone are not enough to guarantee the success of a business, and so it is important to persuade others of the merits of a business plan."

Members of the foreign winning team, David Kwon, Kun Shen and Ray Tan from the Peking University's Faculty of Finance, said that they learnt a lot about energy demand on the mainland while working on their business plan. "We particularly appreciated the chance to research the issue and then to come up with a business solution," remarked Mr Kwon.

Meanwhile, Mr Shen enjoyed exchanging ideas with local university students and business leaders during the team's four-day visit to Hong Kong.

The team visited the KPMG Hong Kong offices during their stay and have been offered internships with KPMG China. "The competition helped us to network with students and business leaders and we're looking forward to more opportunities for exchange in future," said Mr Tan.

Setting the stage

  • Annual competition provides students a platform for idea exchange and networking
  • Winning team demonstrated research excellence and superior presentation skills
  • Internship opportunities with international firm a reward

Taken from Career Times 27 February 2009, p. A5
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