Four young finance students did the University of Pretoria proud when they
were the first team from that university to snag the coveted title of South African
winners of the CIMA Global Business Challenge (GBC) 2014. This is the sixth year
of the global competition for talented business students and the fifth year that
South Africa has competed.
On stage in front of a live audience and a panel of five judges, 16 of SA?s
youngest business celebrities battled it out in an idols-type event at the
Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton on 20 May, to be South Africa?s
representatives at the global final in Mumbai, India in August.
The winning team, calling themselves Halt Financial Services - Thubelihle
Mbete, Lisa-Marie Landman, Annetjie van Rooyen and Hanre Erasmus - beat out
three teams from the University of Johannesburg (UJ). This was the most UJ
teams to be shortlisted for the final.
All four team members are currently studying BCom Financial Sciences and intend
to complete their honours in Taxation or Financial Management.
Says Zahra Cassim, Head of CIMA South Africa: "South Africa had a bumper
year of entries this year with 196 teams registering, from 21 campuses in South
Africa, of which 191 met all the criteria for consideration, this is almost double
the number of teams which registered in 2013 which was 97. In addition, we
saw 83 reports submitted up from 40 last year, so more than double the amount
of teams successfully completed stage one of the competition.
"For the first time we have received entries from Durban University of
Technology, University of the Western Cape and most pleasing, from University
of Venda and University of Zululand, showing that awareness of CIMA is
spreading to more campuses across the country.'
During the event, the final four teams each presented their business case
on this year?s case study, which revolved around a luxury boat manufacturer and
answered questions from the panel of judges, which included Malcolm Furber
FCMA, CGMA who is the current CIMA President; Dr Mabouba Diagne, Managing
Director of Barclays Southern Africa; Cheryl James, CEO of FASSET, Brett Clark
ACMA, CGMA, CFO of Unilever and Catherine Chettiar ACMA, CGMA, Senior
Manager of Toyota.
Says Zahra Cassim: "The competition sponsored by Barclays and organised
by CIMA, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, started in China
as a way to highlight young business talent and give undergraduates
experience in developing business recommendations on a case study and
presenting their findings and recommendations to a panel of judges and in front
of a live audience.
"We are confident that with the quality of our undergraduates, and based
on our experience of the competition, that this team will perform equally well
when it comes to the global final. If this is the quality of future business leaders
in South Africa, I am encouraged that as a nation we have a bright future.'
The global final takes place from 4 to 8 August in Mumbai, India. The South
African team will go head to head with teams from 23 other nations.
Other teams taking part in the global final will come from Australia,
Bangladesh, China, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, the
Middle East, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland,
Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom, Vietnam and Zambia.
The other African teams, Ghana and Zambia, are in their third year of the
competition with their finals scheduled for June.
Sponsor, Dr Mabouba Diagne, said: "It is a privilege as sponsors to be
involved with this initiative. This is my first time judging at a national level, I was
honoured to be a judge at the global final in South Africa last year. An event of
this nature is of fundamental importance to an organisation like Barclays and
one we are committed to continuing with. Investing in the youth and education
is critical to our objectives.
"It is a significant sponsorship for us, in that business, finance and
accounting skills are a scarce resource in South Africa and it is a national
imperative to rectify this. As sponsors of the Global Business Challenge we
believe we?ve done something important for the country.'
The final four teams - Think Finance, ABE Consulting and Original Solutions,
all from the University of Johannesburg and the winners, Halt Financial Services
from the University of Pretoria - were selected following the first round of the
competition. This required the teams to submit a detailed report analysing the
case study and make recommendations to the board of that company.
Other sponsors included, Fasset and Unilever.
Says Malcolm Furber FCMA, CGMA and President of CIMA: "The Global Business
Challenge was first launched in China in 2009 as a way to encourage business
and strategic thinking amongst university undergraduates - South Africa has
competed since 2010 sending our future business leaders up against the best
from the rest of the world.
"Entries this year showed a 96% growth on last year, while the number of
reports received grew by 107% year on year compared to 2013. This
demonstrates that the Global Business Challenge is growing in stature at an
astounding rate and that awareness of the competition is growing year on year
on campuses around the country.'
What do you think?
Should there be more competitions like this?