Dim sum, sparkling lights, light rain and over a hundred of the brightest minds from over 30 countries. Not a combination you would typically expect to come together, but here in Macau with everyone dressed for an evening of celebration, the ballroom of the MGM Grand is buzzing with anticipation to hear the final results of the International Finals in the Global Management Challenge, it’s the culmination of the hard work put in by those seeking excellence.
So how did we get here? Well, we need to go back almost a year to really trace back our journey, all the way to a meeting where Al-Futtaim Automotive was introduced to a concept, not entirely unique, but filled with the potential to elevate talent within the country.
The Global Management Challenge, a business simulation first conceived at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, had been around in the UAE since 2013 engaging some universities and corporate teams. Teams consisting of three to five would take decisions in the areas of the marketing, sales, production or research and development, knowing that the other teams are competing in the same market and selling the same products. The decisions of each team influence in the behavior of the total market, as it happens in real life, but at the same time, the teams’ decisions are able to influence the real life future of each person taking part.
When we first heard about the Challenge there was a proverbial light bulb turning on, this was an opportunity to give everyone in the UAE a chance to compete against the best and brightest human capital the country has to offer, and we could get in on the ground floor. It took no more than a few discussions and we were underway, Al-Futtaim Automotive was behind this educational tool that gave everyone the chance to know and dictate the key aspects involved in running a company.
But the competition was not enough, it had been around for two years already and wasn’t gaining the momentum it deserved. So what was missing? You see it on almost every Facebook forward and motivational poster your friend, aunt or teacher posts or sends through WhatsApp, usually adorned by a filtered picture of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Practical experience.
It’s all well and good knowing the theory of it, but as anyone who has ever seen Master Chef knows, it’s one thing to know the recipe and whole other to cook that meal. So how do you add elements of practical experience to theoretical knowledge? To answer that, we needed to go back to the Challenge.
The simulation puts your team in-charge of a production company, luckily we are in the automotive business and who better to show us efficiencies in production than the world’s best, Toyota Motor Company. Now how do you show young talent how to run a company? Easy, let the people who do so now explain it to you.
With a game plan underway, Al-Futtaim Automotive offered Masterclasses with industry leaders giving participants practical experience on critical decisions that affect them daily and, through Toyota Great Britain, offered the UAE winning team the opportunity to visit their production factory and see firsthand the various aspects to a world leading production facility.
Boy did that work, we hit milestones unheard of in the Challenge. There was an increase in overall participation by one hundred and seventy percent comprising of over 50 nationalities and an increase in UAE national participation by over one thousand three hundred percent! For the first time in the history of the Challenge, the UAE finals comprised of only University teams, proving that young innovative thinking will lead the way.
With the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the partnership of multiple academic institutions and strategic partnerships, the Global Management Challenge developed a stage for talent unlike any other in the UAE. As we sit and wait in anticipation of the results, we realize that winning matters, getting here proves that, but so does the journey. It takes a team, hard work, and a drive to excel and, even when we sit in a room with like-minded top talent from all over the world, we remember it took that first click to take on a Challenge to prove top talent belongs at this table.
To know more about The Global Management Challenge or for registrations please visit http://managementchallenge.ae
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