【Honor】Multinational team wins the silver medal at the “2020 Digital Technology X Sustainable Development X Social Enterprise Proposal Contest”
For the “2020 Digital Technology X Sustainable Development X Social Enterprise Proposal Contest” (the sixth running of the contest), a team called “Avengers” was assembled by the IMAPA student Nohelia Rivera from Peru and master students from IBMBA including Jessica Lai (Lai Yan-Zhu) from Taiwan and Amanda Leigh, Blake Nipper, and Rachel Marie Law from the US.
The team conceived a project titled “EFIC English Education for Remote Areas of Taiwan”, which was created from a cultural and creative education perspective. They went through the preliminary round, taking their place among the 15 teams in the final, and won the silver medal with a remarkable performance.
There are two stages in the Digital Technology X Sustainable Development X Social Enterprise Proposal Contest. In the first stage, competitors need to pass a document review in order to win an opportunity to present their project to a venture capitalist. The team saw the design of the proposal as key to winning the competition. “We took our personal experiences and professional advantages as our starting point. Also, we combined the current policy of a ‘2030 bilingual country’ and wrote the program ‘English for the Indigenous Community in Taiwan’ to improve Taiwan's social issues, such as the uneven distribution of education resources and the exam-oriented English teaching method.”
The Social Enterprise Development & Research Center, which organizes the contest, held a “social business model innovation workshop” in the form of field trips to the Sunny Bubao factory and the Shanlin Gourd art workshop; this provided the finalist teams with a deeper understanding of the method for elaborating such models. One of the team members, Nohelia Rivera, explained that they gained a lot during this two-day-event. “We had a profound understanding that a successful social business must have a clear and complete organizational chart. Thus, we evaluated our proposal from the start to make a further revision against our feasibility and continuity.”
What makes a proposal favorable to venture capitalists? The key is to present market research results and customer feedback with data. Jessica Lai explained that they performed multiple market tests on their product and distributed a questionnaire to collect information such as customers’ satisfaction levels, their willingness to purchase, and the amount they would pay for the product. Amanda Leigh added, “From the market tests, I realize that localized and customized English courses are effective at elevating learners' motivation to become skilled at the language. Besides, if foreign teachers speak Mandarin, it would be easy to become intimate with the students, which helps when planning the course. Certainly, financial planning cannot be ignored. The expenses and margin must be listed in the proposal.”
Rachel Marie Law explained that the diversity and experience of the team members constituted their most significant advantage. Although they came from different countries and backgrounds, they had the same goal, meaning that they could communicate effectively in order to brainstorm ideas in a more creative way. Although the competition is over, they are still planning to continue with the project.
Lai gave special thanks to Professor Yih Jeng of the Department of Finance, Principal Gao Yu-shan of Gushan Elementary School, and Principal Kuo Qi-Hong of Shilong Elementary School. Their mindful guidance allowed the “Avengers” to stand out from the competition. To express their appreciation for all these instructors and venture capitalists, the team donated the entirety of their NT$20,000 prize to the Gushan Elementary School baseball fund, hoping to inspire the children in the baseball team to dream big and be valorous in the realization of these dreams.
【Honor】The international team of the College of Management enter the world’s top five in FECC for the first time
On January 9th, 2021, the final of the 8th Global Family Enterprise Case Competition, held by the University of Vermont, began. Twelve graduate student teams from ten countries competed fiercely for the trophy. Led by Professor Chen Shyh-Jer, an international team from the College of Management at NSYSU took part in the competition; they were the only Taiwanese team.
Prof. Chen, from the Human Resource Management Department within the College of Management, coached a distinguished international team composed of IBMBA Taiwanese students Trista Hsu, Jessica Lai, and Stan Tsai from the US. It was their first time taking part in the competition, but they immediately qualified for the final and placed in the top five in the master’s category.
Over 240 students worldwide participated in the 8th FECC. For the first time, the case competition was held online, due to the pandemic. Competitors were required to go through three rounds of appraisal in order to qualify for the finals. In each round, each team was assigned to one case regarding a family enterprise. The teams had to analyze topics from the different areas of Family, Business, and Family & Business, and also to come up with solutions. As the competition went on, the preparation time gradually decreased from one month for the preliminary to one week for the semi-final, and then 48 hours for the final; each team member had to put all their heart and strength into the preparation.
During the three rounds of the competition, the teams were analyzing and proposing strategies for improving issues such as succession, operation, and SDG for companies including Jebsen & Jessen Group in Hong Kong, Glodiee (the spice manufacturer) in India, and Aldi (the supermarket chain) in Germany. Tsai explained that it was a wonderful experience to compete in the FECC; the team members were able to understand operation models and governing strategies by analyzing cases from different countries’ family businesses. Furthermore, based on the judges’ feedback and questions, they were also able to understand their disadvantages and therefore minimize them.
The most challenging part of the competition was the Q&A after the presentation. Lai stated that the ten minutes of questions constituted the essence of the whole event. During the conversation with the judges, they were able to think about the questions from different point of view and absorb valuable experience from experts in the industry. Moreover, they learned to listen carefully to questions and not rush to answer them so that they could have time to think things over thoroughly and give a well-organized answer. Hsu explained that qualifying for the final was really exciting, but they know they still have a lot of room to grow. They gave special thanks to Prof. Chen for leading them in the competition, and to Prof. Qiong-Wen Tsao and Prof. Hao-Chieh Lin for assisting them during this time.
Advice for future competitors in the FECC
Time management is important, especially for the last round in the final. Read a lot of cases regarding family businesses beforehand in order to elevate your analysis abilities.
Imagine yourself as a consultant carrying out a proposal for a client; this will help you analyze the issue more effectively and present a better solution.
Explain complicated concepts in a simple way so that people can thoroughly understand them. This is good for the proposal.
It was a big challenge for these NSYSU first-time participants to qualify for the final in this competition. Don’t hesitate to sign up if you are interested in family business and international competitions!
【Excellent course】Connecting with the Globe! Excellent Reviews for the INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION course
The 「INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION」course, which is taught by Professor Chun-Tuan Chang at the Department of Business Management, has received the excellent course award for the fall semester of the 2019/2020 academic year. The course provides students with the foundational knowledge and executive concepts of Integrated Marketing, and is conducted in English throughout. With a combination of theories and experimental meanings, the course focuses on choosing a commercial’s purpose, the best way to bring out a brand’s effectiveness, and the importance of customers’ insights. To increase students’ ability and to help them adjust to working environments, every member of the class is required to use English when discussing in groups, writing papers, and presenting their projects. In this way, students face challenges that they may confront at work, such as presenting English proposals.
The course’s final group project was a collaboration with FLOMO（富樂夢）, the first eco-friendly and innocuous eraser brand in Taiwan. On the day of the presentations, the managers of FLOMO were invited along to judge the proposals. Some groups used market investigation to analyze the difference between eraser brands and then SWOT analysis to propose a marketing strategy suitable to the target audiences for the brand (such as teachers, parents, or children). Some groups analyzed the brand’s social media and proposed different functions for the erasers in order to attract different target audiences. Some groups suggested that over-pricing might be the brand’s issue; they recommended a strategy of swapping out the high-cost product and creating a brand new mascot to draw attention. Moreover, students also suggested concepts such as membership systems, reward schemes, and DIY programs; these were all eye-opening, innovative marketing plans, and were complimented. Students answered the judges’ questions fluently in English; as such, this course provided them with early experience of the international proposal pattern.
The vice-chairman of FLOMO stated that there are many exciting ideas and creativity in the proposals; there were even some details that they had not considered internally. Some groups’ proposals were even considered worthy of proposal inside the company, which made the students feel more confident about their ability to perform integrated marketing. Prof. Chang, the program lecturer, has stated that the course’s purpose is to provide students with the capability to analyze different elements in advertisements, create plans individually, execute strategies, choose media, and learn problem-solving abilities.
Ting-Ying Wu, a second grade student on the International Business MBA program who took this course, explained that Prof. Chang always began with theories during each class and gathered many case studies for everyone to analyze. Through the discussion of these studies, students were encouraged to share short presentations on stage. The workload might be heavier than other courses; however, this course gave students a chance to learn how to think based on consumers’ behavior. Moreover, the course gave students a better understanding of communication strategy. From thought to execution, this course helps students to get closer to the real world of work.
【Info Session】Successor Info Session for Hult Prize team
On March 11th, 2021, the organizing team for the Hult Prize at NSYSU held an info session in order to recruit their successors, who will host the campus program this year. This event’s primary purpose was to ensure that the Hult Prize can be held continuously on campus and to expand the organizing team.
Participants were asked to brainstorm in groups how they would promote the Hult Prize in a way that ensured at least ten competing teams and enough budget to host events. The current organizing team held discussions with participants during the info session and came up with some ideas. The first was to approach professors who are teaching courses related to social business and SDG. For instance, Prof. Jeng from the Department of Financial Management teaches the course Business Model Development and Practice of Social Enterprise, in which students are required to carry out social enterprise projects. By collaborating with Prof. Jeng, the organizing team would be able to find more groups to compete in the campus competition.
The second idea was to reach out to students enrolled in in-service master programs. According to one of the participants, many students on these programs are interested in creating their own startup, but they are not well informed about current events on campus. If they know about the Hult Prize, some of them may want to join.
The third suggestion was to form competing teams during info sessions and workshops. This idea was proposed to encourage inter-disciplinary collaboration among students. The Hult Prize challenge involves solving problems that require expertise from different fields. However, when forming a team, most students cooperate with peers from a similar background. Thus, to stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas, students should be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and work with people from different fields.
The fourth idea was to build a club. As clubs have titles provided by the university, it would be easier to approach units on campus and businesses off campus. If the prize competition took the form of a club, the Hult Prize organizing team would be able to save time by avoiding lengthy conversations explaining the prize. A club title would give the organizing team more legitimacy and thus easier access to the resources they need to accomplish their tasks.
Lastly, it was suggested that the Hult Prize be indirectly promoted through TEDxNSYSU. Because of its wide online presence, TEDx is better known than the Hult Prize. If someone were asked to tell a personal growth story about hosting the Hult Prize, many people would hear the name of the prize for the first time.
Many participants actively participated in the discussion, which led to fruitful ideas. The organizing team needs new blood to make the Hult Prize a sustainable program on campus. Fortunately, nearly 80% of the participants were undergraduate students. The organizing team strongly hopes that all those willing to devote their time and effort to hosting the competition can join the project.
The Hult Prize is a non-profit organization that helps students engage with real-world issues by holding a global competition. The global winning team will receive 1 million USD to create their own company.
The International Office of the College of Management successfully held the “Virtual Teams in an Intercultural Context” seminar with Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University （DHBW） in Germany on 11st March 2021. In this cultural exchange seminar, a total of 15 students from the two universities participated and the content of the seminar was formulated by the German organizer. The students were given some tasks in advance to let them have a little understanding of each other's cultural background, which will help the event to run smoothly.
On the day of the seminar, the students met virtually and were equally divided into four groups: red, yellow, blue, and green. Students from the two universities need to cooperate and share opinions in order to complete the tasks successfully. The first task was to suggest a product or service which is not popular in other side’s country and try to import it to that country and promote with marketing strategies. The students can quickly get into the situation and consolidate their opinions very seriously. Every group have designed beautiful and concise powerpoint to present their ideas within short period of time. The second task was relatively difficult. Students need to jointly investigate a case online, provide their teammates with clues that they have and use team spirit to solve the case with patience. Even in the real world, it is not easy to solve the clues through discussion, so we can know that it is even more tough to do it virtually. It can be seen that the students of the two countries have try their best to cooperate in the virtual world, so that they can overcome some of the trials together.
After two main tasks, the virtual meeting has come to the final round, which is the reflection session. Every student has shared the gains that they owned in the seminar, how do they overcome the cultural barriers, in what way do they widen their horizons and etc. Every student expressed their satisfaction to the event and offered feedback positively. Although many international cultural exchange activities were canceled or negatively affected by the pandemic, through this seminar, we can understand that using alternative method can be another way to recognize the other side of the sky from a different perspective.