Young business brains’ winning strategy

26 Jun, 2018

A mix of teamwork, talent and tactics saw Auckland International College take top honours in the annual New Zealand Secondary Schools Case Competition for 2018.

Hosted by the AUT Business School and the student-led AUT Management Consulting Club, the New Zealand Secondary Schools Case Competition (NZSSCC) aims to develop the entrepreneurship skills of high school students, while raising awareness of the business issues faced by companies around the world.

The 16 teams from schools around the Auckland region had been given a week to prepare a stand-out strategy to impress the judges and make it into the finals.

With the help of an AUT Business School student as a mentor, the four finalists – AIC, Botany Downs Secondary College, Macleans College and Rangitoto College/Westlake Boys – then had less than a day to pull together the winning strategy based around Bunnings NZ to present to the industry judging panel.

AIC came out ahead of Macleans College in second place and Botany Downs Secondary College in third, with all three school teams taking home cash prizes sponsored by Ray White, Bunnings NZ and AUT.

MYOB education manager Shailan Patel, who, alongside Bunnings NZ project and analytics manager Rudy Samuel, and chief executive of building company Monte Cristo, Gareth Jones, ran the ruler over the teams, says it is important students apply what they are learning in the classroom in real-life business situations to help them prepare for the workplace.

“It was brilliant to see so many young Kiwis take part in the NZSSCC over the weekend to do just that.

“The skills shown by the students were amazing. Well done to all the students that took part, and congratulations to the winning school.”

AUT Business School lecturer Fiona Hurd, who oversaw the event, says participating in a real-life case competition provides an experience unlike any other for the secondary students.

“The skills they learn, not only in presenting, but in analysing and evaluation real business problems, formulating strategy, and doing all this with limited time and information, develops skills that goes far beyond the business sphere.

“The fact that this event is largely organised by students, for students, is impressive.”

AUT Business School Dean, Professor Kate Kearins, says the Business School’s participation in events such as this is integral to its values and identity.

“Engagement with business and community is at the core of what we do.

“We welcomed this chance to bring together young entrepreneurial talent with local business practitioners for such a hands-on, valuable learning opportunity. We want to make a positive difference in society, and this certainly meets that brief,” says Professor Kearins.

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