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25
Jul 03
Fri

Stuff

Haven’t been up to a terrific amount of stuff these holidays, mostly a mixture of work, relaxing, and heading into uni for competition preparation. I was selected to the team representing UNSW at the BCG intervarsity business strategy competition. The competition simulates a management consulting case and centres on preparing a 10 minute presentation recommending business strategies to a Board of directors, after 3 hours of preparation time. This is followed up by a 10 minute Q&A session where the judges (mostly BCG consultants) grill you on the strategies you’ve proposed. It’s an extremely intense 200 minutes. We had the state finals today, and unfortunately we placed one place off progressing to the nationals. After being initially overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data they gave us (about 60 or so pages), we eventually digested the key points of the case, which was about the Australian wine industry. The flaw with our preparation was that we missed the target audience of the question, which is a fatal flaw in any sort of answer. Normally cases revolve around improving the growth of a single business entity. This case focussed on improving the growth of the Australian wine industry, as a whole, relative to the rest of the world. Not only this, but the advice delivered was meant to be to an industry body (not in itself a wine producer) charged with promoting the growth of Australian wines. While we delivered strategies targeting key markets around the world, the strategies as they were were not implementable by that particular industry body (as they were not a company, but an entity which facilitated dialog between companies in the industry).

Q: “So, we being an industry body with no reach into these markets, how do we implement these strategies to expand into them?”
*dead silence*
A: “Uh… talk to the companies about it?”

A much better answer would have been that, given the role of the industry body, to perhaps encourage Australian wine producers to enter into alliances when expanding overseas. Resulting economies of scale would be beneficial to both firms, and the potential for growth internationally is highly lucrative for all Australian companies. While they are normally competitors in the domestic market, and competition regulation prevents consolidation within Australia, there is nothing preventing them from jointly entering foreign markets. The industry body’s ability to facilitate dialogue between Australian wine producers would thus play a key role in notifying industry of potential markets and potential entry strategies centred around domestic alliances.

Nonetheless, despite the disappointment, it was a terrific learning experience and something I’d definitely do again next year should I get the chance. (Unfortunately, 4 out of our team of 6 graduate at the end of the year, so we need a fresh bunch of people, but that shouldn’t be a problem given that none of us knew each other at the start of the holidays and we gelled quite well when it came to the competition today.)

Got my law results back for all but one subject: 1 D and 3 HDs. Uni starts again next week.