Visvas Kandhan Gopal
Master of Finance Class of 2019
Visvas is currently studying in the Master of Finance Programme at Frankfurt School. He took the Fin...
Master of Finance

A formative experience: The St. Gallen Business Game

June 13, 2018
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Classes had just ended. Our friends from the Master’s in Management programme offered us two of the Master’s of Finance students, a ride to St. Gallen. From where we’d return having made friendships, created unforgettable memories and made our home – Frankfurt School, proud.

I couldn’t sleep from all the excitement, so we arrived early and absolutely stunned by the city and University of St. Gallen. Instantly, we spoke to a few of the one hundred student participants coming from all over the world. Soon it was time for the first challenge with Leonteq to create a Structured Financial Product.

We were paired up with two lovely students from St. Gallen. Our team had an idea to create a product that exploits the stock price change when an activist investor targets a company – and to reinvest our earnings into the targeted company. We found research that supported our hypothesis. Adis and I, the Master of Finance students backed by our recent modules Financial Products and Modelling and Responsible Management in Finance. In the meanwhile, our teammates created a drive folder for the project. Finally, we sat together for the final touches of our power point presentation and uploaded.

The next day was long with 3 challenges coming our way. We started off with the Daimler challenge, where we were tasked with strategizing to improve the after-sales service retention rate. Paired up with two Indians from IE business school we got to work. The representatives from Mercedes Benz were more than helpful in providing us with data or advice. The following Swarovski challenge was most challenging to the men in the room, as we had less of an idea of the main clientele of the company. Adis called his girlfriend, I called my Mother and we discussed with our team and came up with our marketing strategy. As you see so far, the challenges aren’t lined toward specific backgrounds. Hence the name Business Game, depicting the often, wide range of challenges one is tasked with – indiscriminate to one’s specialization. We were exhausted, but right then the most time-constrained challenge of them all surfaced. The BDO challenge where we were tasked to pitch an idea that might help CFO’s tackles challenges they face in their line of work with respect to constantly adapting technology, regulations etc.

When the Covestro Challenge began on the last day, we were quite surprised to see an engineer be a part of our team. And how lucky we were, a challenge requiring us to optimize process and communication for a chemical company and we get the only engineer in the room. What ensued was an extremely interesting exchange of mentalities and ideas from the 3 finance people and the lone engineer. This resulted in somewhat of a detail-oriented hybrid we’d be presenting a few hours later.

Getting live feedback from industry giants on our ideas after the final presentation was extremely valuable. We learnt quite a few lessons on the way, including tips on structuring our presentations, focusing our ideas on a few key areas and most importantly clearly defining our objective. A special mention would be the presentation for the Leonteq challenge: While the presentation itself went quite smoothly and impressed the judges we felt at the moment, the tension skyrocketed during the Q&A when the judges asked us to substantiate our claims and theories. And now this is one of the many places our studies played an immense role. While we knew in theory our predictions would hold, we had to find data and peer-reviewed studies which pointed in the same direction. Our team pulled together multiple studies that predicted the same movements we had in mind. At the moment we’d only done so to make sure we headed in the right direction. In the Q&A though these studies we found would cement our pitch and be the final step in what won us the first place in the Leonteq challenge. 

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