NUS team clinches global business contest

It wins championship with convincing rescue package for embattled Volkswagen Group

A National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School team has become the first from the Republic to win the prestigious Global Business Case Competition in Seattle.

It beat 11 other universities by coming up with the most convincing rescue package for the embattled Volkswagen Group.

Team members Sean Ling, 25, Fabian Kho, 25, Jasmine Lim, 22, and Clayton Chu, 23, clinched the championship last month with their 165- page presentation which addressed most satisfactorily the cost impact of VW's diesel scandal, and how the German group can recover from it.

Participants were given 48 hours to prepare by the organiser - University of Washington's Forster School of Business, which has been running the contest since 1999.

The NUS Business School students beat others from institutions including University of California Berkeley, Portugal's Universidade do Porto, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Australia's Queensland University of Technology.

Mr Ling, the team leader, said: "I feel elated and proud of the team for coming together under pressure." The Singapore team's submission was judged to be the most in-depth, detailed and comprehensive.

NUS Business School deputy dean Hum Sin Hoon said: "The judges were impressed not only by the sheer volume and completeness of the team's presentation, but when questioned, the students were also able to immediately cite the exact page to illustrate their answers."

In essence, the team outlined what VW needs to do in each of its three key markets - the US, Europe and China - to get back on track.

Mr Ling said: "Volkswagen must look to rebuild consumer confidence in its brands. It must work with all external stakeholders with complete transparency and accountability."

And it must change its results- driven culture, he added.

The auto giant's ambition to become the world's top carmaker by 2018 was derailed when it was revealed last September that it had fitted devices into more than 11 million of its diesel cars to help them cheat in emission tests.

The championship is one of three that NUS has won this year. Last month, it topped a business case competition in Serbia, and another in Denmark in March. NUS has won three titles in the Serbian competition's four-year history, while in the latter, it has won four - the most by one university in the competition's 14-year run.

The university said its business students reach the finals in competitions 60 per cent of the time, and emerge as champions half of the time.

NUS Business School director Helen Chai said: "Participating in international case competitions provides experiential learning for our students... They are able to put their knowledge to practice, embrace new cultures, interact with their international counterparts and forge invaluable networks."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'NUS team clinches global business contest'. Print Edition | Subscribe