University of Melbourne has won the Citi International Case Competition 2009 with an innovative ten-year business plan for the world's leading smartcard company. The university bested 20 outstanding teams from leading business schools around the world to take top honors in the prestigious contest.
Held in Hong Kong from November 2-5, the seventh annual Citi International Case Competition attracted a record 21 teams from ten countries: Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. Under a strict time limit, these student teams were challenged to produce and present innovative solutions to the strategic issues and managerial dilemmas facing a real company: Octopus Cards Limited (OCL).
The Citi International Case Competition is jointly organized by Citi and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's School of Business and Management (HKUST), and sponsored by the Citi Foundation. It is an opportunity for students to tackle the real-world challenges of a global business leader, in a realistic, highly competitive environment, and also provides a forum for the cross-cultural exchange of ideas and experiences.
Shengman Zhang, Citi Country Officer for Hong Kong, said, "The ability to generate innovative ideas and turn these into actionable client-focused plans is vital to the success of Citi and all leading corporations today, irrespective of their field. As organizer and sponsor of the annual Citi International Case Competition, we hope to help nurture innovative thinking in our most promising future business leaders. Coming here to Hong Kong, they gain real-world experience in one of the world's most exciting and dynamic business cities."
This year's business case came from OCL, the world's leading contactless smartcard system operator, with more than 19 million Octopus in circulation. OCL briefed the students, providing background information and highlighting key business development issues. Each student was also given a HK$100 Octopus to experience the benefits of this e-purse equivalent of cash during their stay in Hong Kong.
Each team was required to provide strategic recommendations to OCL within 26 hours of receiving the briefing information. An eighteen-person judging panel, comprising senior executives from Citi, HKUST, OCL, and other key businesses, evaluated the teams and selected the winner and runners-up.
Prudence Chan, CEO of Octopus Holdings Limited, "OCL shares Citi's belief in the importance of nurturing tomorrow's business leaders. We were delighted by the high quality of the proposals and creative business solutions produced by this year's Citi International Case Competition students. All teams did a great job and demonstrated the talent, teamwork and innovative thinking that OCL embraces in our organization."
Professor Leonard K. Cheng, Dean of the HKUST Business School, said, "I would like to congratulate all the teams on the wonderful experience that they have gained by participating in this event. They have all done well and demonstrated an abundance of talents, enthusiasm, and hard work. I want to thank the event sponsor Citi and the case company Octopus Cards for making this learning opportunity possible."
The first and second runners-up are University of Southern California and National University of Singapore respectively.
The Citi International Case Competition has brought outstanding students from leading business schools from around the world to Hong Kong since 2003, enabling valuable academic and cultural exchanges. This event also reinforces Hong Kong's position as an international center of finance and education.