A team of Kenya’s Kenyatta University emerged 8th globally in the 2016 Global Management Challenge which seeks to bridge the management skills gap between colleges lecture halls and the boardroom. CNBC Africa had an interview with Oliver Maina, a commerce student from Kenyatta University, who led the Kenyan team to the finals in Macau, China.
According to Maina, GMC is a really huge opportunity for students who haven’t had the chance to learn the practicability of what they learn in class translated to the practical in the real world. What the competition really does is that you are given a virtual company and then you form a team. The team members become the top management of that company and therefore they are expected to make take decisions relating to the sales and marketing, production, human resources and finances of the company. The decisions are made in a highly competitive, constantly changing environment because the simulation software assesses all the decisions of each participating team in comparison with the decisions of the other competing teams within their group. As such, no decision is right or wrong, however, the team that makes better decisions compared to others within their group is rewarded by achieving the best Investment Performance for the shareholders of the virtual company at the end of the Competition.
One of the qualities and challenges that came out after the competition, according to Maina is Leadership and managing people. He asserts that for organizations or companies to succeed, leading people and understanding how they work is key. As a leader, leading a team of smart people who have different opinions is crucial in terms of making the overall decision and this is not taught in classrooms. He therefore urges Universities and colleges to embrace such competitions and make them part and parcel of the syllabus so as to enhance the skills of students. Internships and attachments should also be made compulsory so as to expose students to the outside market.
The competition is open to university students and young professionals organized as teams of 3 to 5 members managing a manufacturing company as its senior management. Over 500,000 students in 35 countries participated in the 2016 GMC challenge. At current the Global Management Challenge is present in the following countries: Angola, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cameroon, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong SAR (China), India, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Macao SAR (China), Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates.