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TargeT 2010

KPMG’s International Business Case Competition 2010 Report

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Raising young professionals

The ability to successfully solve business cases, and to cope with time constraints and effectively present solutions to given business situations, is a sign of good training for young professionals. It means they can work effectively in the world of modern business. This is why KPMG is dedicated to active engagement with students and young professionals who enjoy case-solving and participating in other business-oriented events.


The Final Stage

On April 22, the final of the KPMG International Business Case Competition took place in Athens. Students from 12 countries took part. Russia was represented by a team from Saint Petersburg State University's Graduate School of Management. In the final qualifying round, at KPMG's Moscow office, the students had proved able to compete with students from leading international universities and business schools. On their way to the international final, the students defeated competitors from Moscow State University, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics, the Higher School of Economics, and other top Russian institutions.

The Russian final took place at KPMG's Moscow office, on Floor 31 of the Naberezhnaya Tower Complex in the Moscow City business center.

Role of Fashion Industry Experts

For a day, the participants played the role of fashion industry experts. They were set the tricky task of planning the international launch of a made-up Norwegian brand with a good reputation in its local men's clothing market. On one hand, anyone old enough to buy clothes for themselves considers themselves something of a style expert. On the other, there are so many intricacies and pitfalls in the fashion business that the participants could easily have lost their way, or started arguing, or lost sight of the overall objective. Smooth teamwork, particularly in the presentation, which had to be given in English, to a jury of managers, directors and partners from KPMG in Russia, was half the battle.

In addition, the presentation had to be visually convincing, although there was only just enough time (three hours) to produce a PowerPoint project.

Students' Impressions

Whatever the results, I think I had a very beneficial time, — said Viola Rudenko, a 3rd-year physics student at Moscow State University. — The main thing for me was the chance to get feedback from leading KPMG specialists. After all, I can't judge on my own how strong I am in particular skills that will be required in the future-in particular, teamwork skills, presentation and self-presentation skills, and the ability to solve difficult problems, including within a time limit.
Of course we did everything in our power to win, — said Viola's teammate Roman Kazaryan, an economics student at Moscow State University. — I think our advantage over the other competitors lay in our well thought-out use of the economic figures that were given in the business case

The participants gave their imagination free reign in thinking up know-how for their fictitious company. The jury heard proposals to advertize the Norwegian clothing via a show on MTV, or to look for a way of penetrating the global market through charities. There were attempts to amuse the jury, and even to "pressurize" the judges — within what was permissible, of course. One participant even admitted that in fact his dream was to become an actor, and so he was counting primarily on his team's presentation being more eye-catching than the others.

The Results Presented

Your business case today might baffle even specialists who have been working at KPMG for several years, — summed up the Chair of the Jury, Sergei Savin (Partner, Advisory). — You've done a lot of work, and in my view none of you are losers. We spent a long time arguing over the winner. Therefore, I would like the winners — the Saint Petersburg State University team — to exchange ideas with the Moscow State Institute of International Relations team, who came a worthy second. We found their original thinking very interesting.
We gave preference to the Graduate School of Management team primarily because they are a genuinely harmonious team, and their presentation skills were more convincing than the others'. They worked as a cohesive whole. Preparing another team to this level not long before the final in Athens would have been extremely difficult, — said jury member Alexander Fedotov (Director, Advisory)

"Ace the Case"

In the short gap between the Russian and international finals, KPMG's Moscow office hosted a three-day business case-writing workshop, "Ace the Case". The Saint Petersburg students took part in the workshop alongside five other teams from different universities.

Andrea Vanden Enden (HR Manager, KPMG in Canada) came over especially for the event. Helping her run it was Irina Vardiashvili (Training Manager, Educational Programs, KPMG in Russia). During the workshop, the students attended a business case solving master class covering all the major questions relating to this process: details of the analysis and solution of a given business situation, time management, and the presentation of the solution proposed by the teams. On the third day of “Ace the Case”, the students had the chance to put their skills into practice: they practiced solving a business case and received constructive feedback from the jury.

The international final, involving students from Russia for the third time, took place this year in the Greek capital, Athens. Each of the twelve countries providing entrants had held qualification rounds to find the most dynamic, well-prepared and committed students. The international jury also included representatives of practices participating in the competition. Russia's representative on the jury was Sergei Savin. Under the rules of the competition, Sergei did not take part in judging the Russian team. The Saint Petersburg State University students proved worthy representatives of Russia in Athens. The jury noted their interesting approach to solving the series of difficult business cases set for the participants, their harmonious teamwork, and their excellent presentation skills. The winners of the international final of the KPMG International Business Case Competition 2010 were the USA team, with the students representing Germany and France coming second and third respectively.

"I would win whatever the jury's decision"

Many people think the only successful outcome is victory in the international final of the competition, — said Alexandra Slepova, a student from Saint Petersburg State University's Graduate School of Management, who represented Russia in the international final. — However, after meeting the students from foreign universities, and employees from KPMG in Russia and other countries, I immediately understood that I would win whatever the jury's decision. We acquired invaluable experience, tested our strengths in competition with student teams that had been recognized as the best in many countries, and simply had an excellent time
This is the third time we've taken part in the KPMG International Business Case Competition, — said Elena Naumenko (HR Director, KPMG in Russia and the CIS). — With every year, the students are demonstrating an ever-higher level of training, teamwork work, and, not unimportantly, a desire to win. We greatly value these qualities in the students, and are trying to give them the maximum opportunity to prove themselves. Participation in the competition has also become a big step for the students in getting to know the international business that they are bound to work with in the future. This year, the qualification rounds took place not only at our office, but also at universities, allowing us greatly to expand the competition's reach. In the international finals, held in previous years in Dubai and Budapest, our students are also getting more successful with each year, and we are confident of coming in the top places in future. The chances of this are even greater given that next year we plan to significantly expand the competition's geographical coverage, with qualification rounds in the Russian regions, plus Ukraine and Kazakhstan
 
 
 


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