Being one of the most influential and popular business games worldwide, the HEC Business Game (HBG) in Paris has been one of the go-to events on our bucket lists for a long time. We paired up with our fellow students Tobia Tassinari and Nick Heinzel in teams of two not only because of the business aspect of the game, but primarily because of the underlying deeper purpose of this event – networking in two dimensions.
Firstly, networking as getting to know other like-minded students from international top-business schools by competing with and against them, but also by having a great time at HEC and in Paris. Secondly, networking as getting to know companies as a potential future employer better and explore the different challenges of the sectors they are active in.
Being the most competitive edition of the game so far, we felt honored to receive admission to the event commencing from 19th-20th April and were excited to be able to represent the Master of Finance. The two-stage application process comprised of a CV screening and a video pitch of a real-life business case provided by one of the sponsors, AB InBev, served as a first teaser for the competition.
After a brief opening ceremony of this year’s president of HBG in HEC’s auditorium, the first of four challenges started on Friday morning – the Bain & Company challenge. For every case, each pair of ours was teamed up with two other pairs of students. This gave us the perfect opportunity to take different perspectives and approaches to the given problem. Under considerable time pressure (the solution was due after only 3 hours!) we kicked-off the challenge. As expected beforehand, this strategy case soon became our favorite, as it was a modified real-life business case of the consultancy’s private equity practice. Advising a PE fund on a leveraged buyout transaction with an international construction company, was directly related to fields of personal interest and academic background of many, yet not all our teammates. Not only business students competed in the game, but also graduate students from various other disciplines, for instance engineering, medicine, or biology.
The other finance challenge of the game was provided by Luxottica, one of the leading premium and luxury eyewear manufacturers based in Milan. Advising the CFO on potential drivers of a profit decline, our teams recommended concrete actions to solve the hypothetical issue. Thereby, we gained additional knowledge on the functioning of a multi-channel distribution network and the financial challenges connected to the market that is not only exposed to seasonal fluctuations in demand, but also to the fast-moving fashion market.
The remaining two challenges were raised by Bertelsmann (focusing on innovation) and Shiseido (focusing on marketing).
We left Paris on Sunday morning equipped with further insights into real-life business challenges, and different sectors. Having worked together with 4 different teams on 4 different cases in just 2 days, we truly experienced how teamwork, internationality and drive can boost results. These are also factors characterizing our #FSSpirit.
Margret Postulka, Master of Finance Class of 2020