On the 30th November 2012, the trimester ritual was upheld again when Thunderbird Management Consulting Association (TMCA) presented an opportunity for our T-birds to flaunt their consulting skills at one of our legendary events, Clash of the Consultants. The event kicked off at 9a.m at the Yount building with over 20 students participating in 5 different teams. Participants were challenged to develop a new business model for RD Tech, a computer hardware company in Rwanda that was facing problems due to the economic crisis, competition from a Chinese company and changes in government policies. Overall, it was a typical Thunderbird case of how small companies in emerging markets deal with institutional void, realize the importance of supply chain, combat increased competition due to globalization and neutralize the impact of the economic crisis.
Who are better experts at global issues and emerging markets than our very own professors at Thunderbird? The panel of judges was represented by Gabriel Gonzalez (Assistant Professor of Marketing), Tom Hunsaker (Competitive Strategy and Global Management) and Rick H. Baer (Global Marketing & Brand Management). According to the judges, one of the most important criteria in determining the winning team was sound presentation skills accompanied by an exhibition of a concise, clear and realistic business model that can be justified. A realistic solution to effectively tackle the company’s problem.
Owen Chen, Ji Chen, Anuj Mody, Yushi Liu were announced as the winning team while Sandra Ouyang, Julian Gonzalez, Sameer Bhargava and Tommy Ogden were awarded the runner up team. In addition, Sameer Bhargava was individually recognized as the best presenter. The judges were impressed with the participants’ presentation skills but indicated that the teams could improve on constructing a solution which was both immediately implementable and long term focused to deal with the issues raised.
Sameer Bhargava shared his experience as a participant, “I enjoy solving cases and it was a pleasure working with Tommy, Julian and Sandra. It was interesting to hear their points of view and those of the other teams in the competition. Each team had a slightly different approach for solving the problem and this competition helped me to appreciate the importance of diversity in a team. The best solution would have been a combination of the ones provided by the top two teams.”
Ji Chen on the other hand stated his key take away to be focused on business solutions being clear and focused; not to try and cover everything because covering everything means covering nothing. He was also thrilled to be able to learn from his team members who came from diverse backgrounds enabling them to evaluate issues from different perspectives.
Congratulations to the winners and thank you to TMCA and the judges for presenting this fantastic opportunity to all consulting enthusiasts at Thunderbird!