NUS BBA 13 March 2018

An adventure in Oslo

NUS BBA students, Preston Ang (Year 4), Tan Hong You (Year 3), Shirri Lim (Year 3) and Cheri Tng (Year 2), led by Associate Professor Lau Geok Theng recently travelled to Oslo to participate in the BI International Case Competition. The team, Moose Consulting,  is proud to take home third place where they also had a chance to explore Oslo and be acquainted with their people and culture.

Shirri Lim shares the team experience at the case competition, and their adventure in Oslo.

Team Photo with Prof Lau (left) at Opera House

Currently in its fourth iteration, the case competition invites prestigious schools from all over the world to compete in solving a real business case. This year’s tough competitors came from 12 different schools, originating from nine different countries across four continents – including Chulalongkorn Business School, Copenhagen Business School, The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) and University of Southern California (Marshall School of Business).

With Team Texas on the first night

With Teams Melbourne, Concordia and Texas at the Fram Museum

The case format was split into two rounds – a warm up case and a long case.

Warm up case

This year’s warm up case was on improving customer loyalty for a Norwegian telecommunications company, Telia. This was an interesting problem to solve as the Norwegian consumers do not like being tied down by the typical two-year long telco contracts, which is how telco companies attempt to retain customers. Teams were given nine days to crack the case before doing an eight-minute pitch and seven-minute Q&A with the business representatives of Telia. The NUS Business School team emerged Champion for this warm up case!

THe team chilling after the warm up case presentation

Long case

For the long case, the challenge was on improving operational efficiency along the supply chain of a local BCG (Branded Consumer Goods) company, Orkla. Given the large complexities present along the supply chain of a consumer goods company due to its corporate strategy of acquisitions without factory consolidations, it proved to be a tough case to figure and crack. Teams were given 30 hours to crack the case, before doing a 15-minute pitch and 15-minute Q&A with judges from Orkla and other partner companies.

We went up against University of Chulalongkorn, University of Melbourne, and Concordia University in the preliminary round and came up first in the division. In the finals, we competed against The Wharton School and University of New South Wales where we eventually won third place!

Presenting during the finals

This case made the team realise that we are truly made for the tropical climate of Singapore because it was freezing in Oslo (think subzero temperatures!) It caused the team to fall ill and we were constantly taking medication that we were worried about our focus and stamina to last through the challenge. Thankfully, the fish oils in our welfare pack from Orkla helped build our immunity system along the way!

The team getting interviewed after knowing they entered the finals

Overall, the competition was extremely well planned and executed with plentiful of socials activities that allowed us to not just interact with other teams, but also experience the Norwegian culture. We absolutely loved our time at Norway – just being surrounded by all the brilliant minds and bright personalities from all around the world made it such an enriching experience for us as we got to learn even more about other countries’ and their cultures too.

The Oslo adventure

As part of the case competition, we had a local student as our buddy – Øystein Dybdahl . He was part tour guide, part friend, and he taught us so much about the Norwegian culture and its people – in fact, by the end of the competition, he was literally speaking like one of us (with all the Singlish) and had loads of inside jokes with us!

Team Photo with Oystein at the Fram Museum

Also, another fun fact about the case: the 30 hours spanned across Valentine’s – so we were technically each other’s Valentine’s this year. Nothing more romantic than spending Valentine’s cracking a supply chain case while in a hotel room that offered us breathtaking views of Oslo’s modern architectures and snowy landscapes, I guess this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Places of interest we visited/fun facts:

  • Oslo Opera House: The home of The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and also the national opera theatre in Norway – gorgeous architecture!
  • Fram Museum: A museum telling the story of Norwegian polar exploration and the boat that was used (called Fram) – we managed to explore the insides of the Fram that is now residing in this museum.
  • “Russefeiring” culture: Refers to a traditional celebration by graduating students who will wear colourful overalls, and form groups to book party buses to party across Oslo/Norway for up to 2 weeks at a go. We managed to get a taste of this uniquely Norwegian culture, where all the teams were on board 2 party buses that travelled across Oslo for a day – allowing us to eat, drink and be merry!
  • Reindeer meat: No pictures of this but, we tried reindeer meat for the very first time during our closing dinner! Reindeer meat is a Norwegian delicacy, and definitely leaves a unique finish in our mouths that isn’t quite like any other meats we’ve tasted before.

All onboard the party bus

We are very thankful for our advisor, Prof Lau Geok Theng, who constantly encouraged us to achieve higher; as well as our buddy Øystein Dybdahl who was always there for us and helped us soak in the Norwegian culture better. The team had a terrific time in Oslo, thanks to the well-organised competition (props to the BIICC planning committee) with wonderful welfare for its participants.

Team Photo with Oystein and Prof Lau

For more information on the NUS BBA programme, please visit http://bba.nus.edu/.