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DBS team makes international business competition finals

In a first for Deakin, DBS students represent Australia at a prestigious business competition in Manila taking out best presenter award.

A team of Deakin students was among six international teams to make the finals at a prestigious international business competition, topping off the event by commerce/law student Charles Francis taking out the best presenter award.

Held recently in the Philippines, the International Institute for Business Development (IIBD) International Case Competition involved students from 27 world-wide universities who competed in the task of solving a real-world business problem.

The Deakin students – Charles Francis, Christine Tran, Simon O’Loughlin and Anthony Luxford – were the only team to represent Australia after competing against some of the nation’s high-profile business schools to win their place in the final competition.

Under the theme of ‘Digital Disruption & Global Inclusiveness’, the finalist teams had six hours to research, analyse, develop a set of action plans, and make recommendations to a business case. 

Charles Francis, who is studying a combined Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws degree at the Geelong Waterfront Campus, says it was both an honour and a surprise to win the best presenter award

‘It is one of those awards you always aspire to achieve especially when competing on an international stage.  Personally, achieving such an award is a huge boost of motivation for me to continue to pursue my professional ambitions in finance and to also continue to develop my presentation skills. Being able to speak and engage an audience is one of those traits that I have continually tried to craft, and winning this award is reassurance that I am on the right path.'

With the four teams members split between Deakin’s Geelong and Melbourne campuses, preparation for the competition was often held via online conference calls.
Team leader Christine Tran says although the preparation logistics were sometimes challenging, the experience of participating in the competition was unique.
‘It required us to work under high pressure with the constraints of tight deadlines and heavy technological-based information. But it was a once in a lifetime experience to compete against universities worldwide in one of the most prestigious international case competitions.’

Recently graduating from a combined accounting and law degree, Christine says that her role as team leader provided her with invaluable experience.

‘It enabled me to be more responsible in directing and motivating the team. In terms of professional development, digging deeper into technological advances and its connection to business environment in 2018 has led me to explore the theme of “corporate governance and digital disruption” for PhD research in future years. I also recognise that the critical thinking and debating skills I learnt from Deakin law classes have been highly beneficial to me not only in 2018 IIBD International Competition but for my future career.’

Simon O’Loughlin, who is in his final year of a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in economics), plans to work in the economic aid and development area after he graduates.

He says working alongside teams from different countries was a highlight of the competition.

‘All the teams had different dynamics and ways of analysing the problems that were posed to us. The different individuals we got to meet all had experienced different paths to get to university and had interesting plans for the future.’

Simon adds it was ‘fantastic’ to travel to another country with his Deakin team- mates who were also supported by academic mentor Sue Davey and warmly welcomed by the host Philippines team.

‘At a professional level it was also great to speak to business leaders and academics from around the globe. The team was also able to notice the subtle differences in the way businesses operate in the Philippines market in comparison to Australia. Such exposure was fantastic as sometimes I find I focus only on the Australian commercial outlook,’ he says.

Reflecting on the competition, Bachelor of Commerce student Anthony Luxford says participating in the final presentation and Q&A session was an outstanding experience.

‘It was exciting being able to present in front of top businesspeople and receiving real-time feedback and criticisms about our presentation.  It was also great for me to see Charles win the best presenter award. I’ve worked with him in assignments and other extra-curricular activities so it was pretty surreal seeing him win an award on an international stage.’

2018 Business Development International Case Competition results:

  • Best Presenter –Charles Francis, Deakin University
  • Gold Prize – Ateneo de Manila University, The Philippines
  • Silver Prize – University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA
  • Bronze Prize – The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China
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