Sub-degree students flaunt creative flair

by Billy Chan

Jack Lo, director, SPEED
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Photo: Edde Ngan
When the organiser of the Business Innovation Awards (BIA) started their annual competition four years ago, they had no idea it would become so popular. Targeted at students who are pursuing associate degrees or higher diplomas, the competition allows teams to demonstrate their creativity and business sense.

Organised by the School of Professional Education and Executive Development of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU SPEED), the competition reached new heights this year with a record submission high of 71 business proposals from 86 teams, totalling more than 300 students from 15 different educational institutions. In 2007, only 12 teams of about 42 students from four institutions participated in the competition.

"The quality of the work by our student participants is on a par with those who are enrolled in full-time degree programmes, if not better," said Jack Lo, director, SPEED, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The rise in the participant numbers also shows more students are seizing the opportunity to gain real-life business experience.

Participants are given a business scenario involving the operation of a corporation. They need to devise one or a series of solutions and incorporate them into a business proposal. Three proposals are selected to enter the final round, where the finalists present their plans in a multimedia format to a panel of judges.

"School instructors in business management programmes see the importance of this competition and they encourage their students to take part in it," says Dr Lo.

This year, the participants were asked to formulate a business proposition for the MTR on how to improve information and train services that targeted young commuters.

According to Dr Lo, winners are selected based on idea originality, viability and practicality, as well as their writing and presentation skills.

The gold award went to "iMarketer", a student duo from the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education Shatin campus. Their idea was to develop an iPhone application for tracking an MTR ride between stations and displaying other information such as travel time, train fares and news updates. It also embeds a popular mobile phone technology that originated from Japan called "QR code", which allows passengers to place a bid in online auctions when they are on the go.

"Our idea may look cool during the presentation but we took into consideration the feasibility of our proposal," says Wynne Yu, member of "iMarketer" and a third year student of a business with design management programme. His team-mate Chan Ching-shan remarks, "During the the competition, we learnt to approach an issue with a business perspective."

Taken from Career Times 30 April 2010, A8
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