A team from UTP Bachelor in Business Management (BBM) programme emerged as Champions in the recently held Young CEO Challenge 2020 (YCC 2020) organised by Intec Debating Society (mINDS) and Professional Accounting Society (PACE), sponsored by Ernst and Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The online competition was opened to all higher learning institutions to encourage and develop young aspiring CEOs. From 12 July to 16 August 2020, Team Innomic led by Muhammad Luqman Ariff Zulkifli (1st year, 2nd), Vincent Hoh Wen Xuan (1st year 3rd), Nur Alysha Balqis Rosman (1st year, 1st) and Winnie Low Yin Peng (1st year, 1st) battled against 30 dynamic teams. Among the contestants were teams from INTEC Education College, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), UiTM, Sunway College, AIMST University, Kolej Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (KUIS) Selangor, KYS Business School and Kolej Universiti Poly-Tech Mara (KUPTM) Kuala Lumpur.
Team Innomic braved through three stages, Millionaire Hedge Fund, Surviving CEO and Life as a Trader. The context of the challenges is status quo; post-COVID-19 and a volatile market. They were assigned specific tasks to steer oil and gas, construction, manufacturing and banking companies through the arranged stages.
At the Millionaire Hedge Fund stage, they were assigned an arduous task to construct an investment portfolio and provide a risk management plan to convince fund and shareholders. Here the teams were assessed on their tenacity, anticipation of financial markets, analytical skills on trajectories and connect how events could impact market activities.
At the Surviving CEO stage, they were tested on a myriad of skills required for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) such as financial, communication and negotiation skills, sound judgment, decision-making abilities, and team dynamism. Their goal was to convince shareholders on their merger and acquisition plan to improve the company’s performance and wealth creation. The team presented their M&A to a panel of judges from EY and PwC.
At the final stage, Life as a Trader, qualifying teams were assessed on their mathematics and analytical skills, confidence, IT skills and interest in financial markets. Their goal was to make sound investment decisions that would maximise the return on investment (ROI). The ROI of each team were ranked accordingly.
Despite being at a critical time of the semester, Team Innomic underwent intensive training and simulation sessions for each challenge. They were coached by a team of Management and Humanities (MH) Department Lecturers. Each coach was assigned a dedicated task based on their area of expertise to prepare the team with aspiring CEO-ready grit and skills namely Puan Hezlina Mohd Hashim for Accounting, AP Dr Maran Marimuthu and Encik Md Akhir Mohd Sharif for Finance, AP Dr Ting Ding Hooi for Economics, Puan Haryanni Harun for Management and Leadership and Cik Azelin Mohamed Noor for Presentation Skills. A special mention should also be made of Encik Schazeril Shamsuddin,Lead, Design Change, Transformation Office, PETRONAS Chemicals Group. His role as an external auditor for Team Innomic, provided pertinent perspectives and insights through the lens of an industrial practitioner during a crucial simulation session.
BBM Programme Leader, Puan Haryanni Harun stressed upon the team and coaches that winning the challenge is a bonus, since the experience gained through team effort and courage, they developed is priceless.
Innomic team leader, Luqman commented that the YCC 2020 exposed them to real-life challenges in managing businesses. He further added that even though they had to compete against accounting and even ACCA students, the spirit of being a UTP BBM student, enabled them to step into the ring with confidence and participated to gain knowledge and exposure.
The members of Team Innomic had minimal exposure to financial management prior to the competition as compared to other contenders. Thus, confronting all three stages of YCC 2020 by applying business analytical skills provided an invaluable learning experience that bridged the theories taught in the BBM programme to the practical world. Competing and winning YCC 2020 is the boost needed for these students amidst a tough semester.
The Team and coaches are grateful for the trust and the support shown by MH Department Chair, AP Dr Lai Fong Woon.
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