It is 12 past midnight; we (four students of the MBA programme at Frankfurt School) have just crossed the Swiss/German border. We are heading back to Germany from Milan after participating in the 3rd Edition of the International Finance Competition (March 31 – April 1 2017) organized by SDA Bocconi School of Management, one of the top business schools in Italy. My name is German Abreu, and I am a student of the Frankfurt MBA programme and this is a blog post about four MBA students proudly representing Frankfurt School.
The Frankfurt MBA – being part of the business school network
The advantage of studying in one of the best business schools in the heart of Europe is that trying to find outstanding and ambitious MBA students who seek for challenging and interesting opportunities to prove their talents is not difficult. I assume that it was the same situation for other top international business schools. This is what made the competition even more fascinating. Even though we have busy times studying, preparing projects and presentations we are always ready for a business challenge.
In line of what H. Markowitz defined in his Modern Portfolio Theory, we tried to emulate this theory in our context and meet professionals with particular skills and strategic expertise to maximise our chance to win the competition. Proficient people with background – not just in the financial industry – with academic expertise in Finance but also in Marketing, Project Finance and Customer Relationship etc. seems to tie a good mixture to face the competition.
International Finance Competition Challenges – the team milestones
We received the first part of the case study via E-Mail one week before we went to Bocconi and with it the competition officially started. An interesting project combining business retail services with the use of renewable energy and trying to contribute to the change of schematic energy consumption behaviour from fossil to electrical. And today… looking back at the beginning we were quite uncertain about facing this challenge. Some of the team members found the case study demanding and others just unimaginable because of all constraints attached to it. Wins of non-motivation, opinion differences, disinterest in being involved and potential resignation of some members demotivated the whole group at critical times.
However, the context was set for the uprising of team leading skills who would be able to influence and stimulate the team members, to be aligned to the original purpose which is to participate and win the competition – no matter how challenging it could be at some points. This supposition was far to what the team held, and self-motivation with competitive spirit returned to the team. A whirlwind of ideas and approaches came up to generate excellent results. Creativity, planning, organization, controlling and strong alignment among us inspired us to build a solid case study and last but not least showing significant team working skills.
A day before the official competition we arrived in Milan and our synergy as a team was unshakeable, also our individual confidence to win was unbeatable. We were welcomed by the organizational board members of SDA Bocconi Finance Club and immediately went to the master salon where Prof. Steffano Gatti welcomed all participants, followed by Prof. Boris Durisin who delivered an interesting speech about the influence of marketing nowadays in companies. After the first session, we were invited to a reception, where all participants of the competency had the opportunity to interact with each other.
Representing the Frankfurt School – the final day of the competition
The day to shine started and with it the arriving of the second part of the case study. We had only couple of hours to develop additional strategies, build and coordinate a ten-minute presentation and deliver it precise and on time to the jury. A good understanding and preparation of the case study, an innovative proposal to add value to the entire project and a solid finance support calculation were our strengths to show a solid case proposal and a feasible way to implement it. However, the time limit played against our performance and it snatched the chance to win the prize. Minutes of defeat came together with the sense of our effort and strengths were shaded for a small but important part of the total element “time management”.
Minutes after, we realized it was unfair to scold ourselves and belittle of what we had achieved. In a competition, having a specific target and working hard to attain goals are always important if you want to reach the higher podium, but looking back onto the process and comprehending what we had built as a cohesive team, giving the best of your skills and expertise, creating value to each intervention, identifying our weaknesses and strengths and recognizing and respecting our individual role in the team are fundamental if you would like to have a sustainable successful career in your life.
Thanks to all the participants of the competition for bringing challenge and quality to this event, thanks to SDA Bocconi School of Management and its organization for building a platform where students can test their knowledge and capabilities among the best, and a big thanks to Frankfurt School of Finance & Management for giving us the opportunity to go through this great experience, establishing relevant networking with leaders and potential colleagues, improving our international knowhow and management capabilities, driving us to increase our quality standard level to be better managers and leaders, characteristics which are difficult to practice in a classroom.