Frankfurt School was proudly represented at the Solvay Business Game 2017 by Ulrich Wiebach, Dere Cakir, and me. Every year, 400 participants travel to Brussels for the largest business game in Europe. It is an intense competition in which students from top universities and leading business schools put their knowledge and skills into practice. Major companies were involved as the business game is also a prestigious recruitment event.
I would like to discuss my experience to give future candidates a better idea of what to expect during these two exciting days.
Day 1: Pitch, Negotiation and Strategy
After a nutritious breakfast, the first round started. The Pitch Challenge by McKinsey & Company placed us in the shoes of a real consultant. Our challenge was to suggest a platform to provide new revenue streams for a music label. One of the assessment criteria was the “fun” part of the pitch. As such, we presented our idea in a role-play setting to give a tangible illustration of customer experience. It paid-off, as the jury laughed and at the same time understood the idea well.
My favourite challenge started after lunch. A four-hour Negotiation Challenge by BDO put us in the real situation of a Merger & Acquisition transaction. As the purchasing party, our team negotiated with another team that tried to sell the firm at the best price. I learned that the understanding of data and valuation calculations is as vital as the interaction between two parties. Therefore, this challenge was an add-on to the corporate finance classes at Frankfurt School, where the emphasis is on the technical and theoretical part.
The third round was the Strategy Challenge by Bank Degroof Petercam. The financial advisor for corporate, institutional and private clients proposed a case that focused on new approaches for improving awareness among a certain target group. The abstractness of this task, as access to information was limited, forced us to be creative and think out-of-the-box.
Day 2: Marketing and Presentations
The second day was allotted to the Marketing Challenge by Unilever. Unfortunately, I cannot share much of this experience as every participant had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. After that, the final presentations in front of the companies’ jury for the Marketing, Pitch and Strategy Challenges took place.
The day ended with a dinner and champagne bar. It was another great opportunity to engage with people from different backgrounds, which is always interesting as one gets to hear interesting stories, understands more about how other top business schools work, and gains a new perspective.
Day 3: Back home after a great experience
With a great feeling, I left Brussels for Frankfurt am Main. I can conclude that business games are a valuable experience for any student. One of the major learning outcomes for me was creativity in preparing a presentation or pitch. It is a simple, yet essential way to stand out. Next to that, realizing how open-mindness is key to successful teamwork, especially with new people.
I would strongly encourage other students to participate in such business games, because of the opportunity to improve individual skills, expand your network and have a lot of fun!
Finally, I want to thank Frankfurt School for the great support.
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