KENYATTA UNIVERSITY ECONOMICS STUDENTS EMERGE WINNERS IN THE GLOBAL MANAGEMENT CHALLENGE
The Global Management Challenge is the biggest global strategy and management competition held every year, attracting over half a million people from over 30 countries. For competitors, the Global Management Challenge offers an alternative platform, removed from the theory of the classroom or the rigid corporate structure, where young men and women can learn what leadership in business really entails – they grow and manage virtual companies in simulations that mirror the real world. This is a challenge that begun 36 years ago and at that time Portugal was the only country that took part in the competition. To date the number of countries distributed throughout Europe, Latin America, Asian and Africa that have embraced the global management challenge is over 30.
In Kenya the Global Management Challenge was launched 3 years ago, with the Greener Pastures limited being the major host. The other sponsors of the competition are Tarpo Industries, Profiles International, Centum investments, ACCA Kenya and Duma works. The competition is open to anyone who is willing to learn about management. In Kenya GMC aims at creating a quality talent pool among the Kenyan youth by promoting the four key values of corporate management; - strategic management, decision making, team work and corporate leadership.
The theme of the competition was “Transformation Through Experience”; participants were encouraged to leverage each other’s unique strengths and all finalist were given a personality assessment by Profiles International in order to help them understand their unique leadership styles.
The competition is conducted in teams in which each team has a maximum of 5 members and a minimum of 3 members. The team members form top most management of the virtual company and make decisions pertaining the four critical areas of a firm’s activities which are, finance, operations, marketing and human resource. The competition takes place in 3 successive stages, of which only the teams thatmake it at a particular stage, qualify to take part in the subsequent stages of which the third is the national finals. The top team in the national finals represents the country in the international competition. The team with the highest investment performance wins the competition.
We as team Yeshuas from Kenyatta University won the 3rd edition of the Global Management Challenge in Kenya, therefore will be representing Kenya at the international competitions in Doha Qatar. Team Yeshuas is composed of five students: Daisy Mbiuki, Lilian Nyang’wara, Zakayo Omondi, Nakaya Ian and Emmanuel Akaka, from the school of Economics, taking a bachelor of Economics and Finance.
We as finance students believe that we were indeed really destined to meet. However, the bonding really came in after we had a group discussion to present a class assignment. It is after then that one of us(Lilian) who had seen a GMC poster suggested that we take it up. A group was instantly formulated by our team leader (Akaka) and off we were set.
‘The Yeshuas’, yes, that is the team name we were in unison of. It is a name that has raised several queries among many. Albeit, it’s the group identification that we all agreed on during our very first meeting. Yeshua is a Hebrew word that defines the act of deliverance and thereby also refers to Jesus; the long awaited Messiah to Christians.
For we as team Yeshuas, it has been an experience whose commencement was not that rosy. It was actually coupled with uncertainty and lack of bravado. “Let us just try it out so as to gain entrepreneurial experience,” we recall telling ourselves that at the beginning of the challenge.
However,getting as far as the national finals, we realized that this was not just like any other classroom lecture, but a learning avenue choreographed with fundamental principles of the corporate world.
Indeed, the journey was rough, just fit for the tough. Albeit, we had the tenacity to push us to the end. At the start of the race there were 112 teams, 64 teams including us managed to cruise through the stormy seas into round one of the competition. The tides and waves of the second round were no better to bear. Despite that, we and 31 other teams graciously sailed into the 2nd round. At the end of the 2nd round, only 8 teams qualified for the national finals which would mark the last stage of the national competition. The reality had just dawned on us and truthfully, the feat was not free of constraint.
The national finals, a one-day event at Ole Sereni Hotel was indeed the most captivating and fascinating day of our entire course. Regardless of that, we had one vision and mission with absolutely no alternatives, to carry the trophy at the end of the day, and yes, we won. We surely did win. It’s still a shocking reality to us as a team, we didn’t just sail through swiftly to victory. There were valleys and plateaus but we indeed still won. A miracle we termed it.
The Global Management Challenge experience has had a really colossal impact on our lives. It is amazing and challenging but with a lot of great lessons. Not only have we learned the four key values of corporate management: - team work, leadership, strategic management and decision making but also resilience, innovativeness and attention to detail. It is an experience worth referring to. Through GMC one gets to understand the meaning of the quote by Benjamin Franklin which says ‘Tell me and I Forget. Teach me and I Remember. Involve me and I learn’.
As we set out to Doha, Qatar for the international finals, we not only have ourselves and Kenyatta University in thought, but we are heading out with an aim of making Kenya and Africa proud, while trusting, believing, hoping and having faith in God to see us through