2008 Hong Kong Case Competition Part 5 – Haas Wins!

Yes we did it! This amazing team made up by Jimmy Shi, Sagar Gupta, Wei Li and Sean Huang won first place in the Citi International Case competition at HKUST in Hong Kong. The finals were held at the Mira Hotel in downtown Kowloon.

The teams presentation was flawless, their strategy was smart, exciting and included all of the core competences that are so important to Ocean Pacific Park. The judges were extremely complimentary of their performance and the depth of their analysis-they thought that the team consisted of MBA students.

We were honored also with an award for Sagar Gupta who won for Outstanding Speaker. Way to go!

During the dinner we were entertained with a talent show that was done by some of the participating schools. There were lots of laughs and shared fun.

So tomorrow we head back to California. It has been an amazing and enriching experience for all of us.

Posted by Dinko Lakic for Janet Amador

2008 Hong Kong Case Competition Part 4

Our fourth day in Hong Kong started very quietly. All 18 teams present at the competition were busy preparing their cases until noon. Very few slept during the night, but they all looked excited to present.

The Berkeley team looked like they were rested as they entered the room (they did get some sleep!). They did a fabulous job presenting their case. The team worked very well together, seamless in their efforts. They felt great about their accomplishment. I was very proud of them.

The dinner where the finalists were to be announced started with the important acknowledgement that all of the teams who participated were winners. All of the teams showed amazing effort and creativity. The future of business innovation is in good hands.

So the great news is that we made the finals!!! We are one of four schools that will present at the finals. The other three schools are:

  1. Simon Fraser (Canada)
  2. Maastricht (Netherlands)
  3. National University of Singapore

So the team can’t relax too much, although they did agree that getting a good night sleep for tonight was a wise move instead of celebrating their success. So tomorrow night we will present in a formal setting in downtown Kowloon. The executives from both Ocean Park and Citi will be in attendance. It is very exciting to be in the finals.

Posted by Dinko Lakic for Janet Amador

2008 Hong Kong Case Competition Part 3

On the third day of our case competition, the activities started early this morning with the drawings for the order of presentations and division groups. There are 18 schools represented and they are divided into 4 divisions. On Wednesday at 1:40 HK time or 10:40pm CA time we will be presenting our case. We are competing in our division against:

  1. Lund University (Sweden)
  2. University of Virginia
  3. Korea University
  4. Helsinki School of Economics (Finland)

Our team has done a magnificent job of getting to know other students. They really have great networking skills. After the schools were drawn, the team immediately went to shake hands and wish good luck to their competitors.

So, for now they are sequestered in their room with lots of junk food, and their collective minds deciphering the case. As an advisor I won’t be able to look at the case until presentations start tomorrow. So I can’t even give you an inkling of what they have been tasked to do.

Posted by Dinko Lakic for Janet Amador

2008 Hong Kong Case Competition Part 2

This morning of our second day at 7:30 we were all dressed in our business attire waiting to leave for our case company visit. While you would think that nervousness abounded amongst the teams, it became obvious that the students wouldn’t let that interfere with their social skills! They knew how to connect with each other no matter what school they represented. The bus ride to the undisclosed location was alive with chatter and laughter. Without knowing what lay ahead, everyone just enjoyed the moment.

As we drove in from the airport our driver had said, “There is Disneyland.” I joked and said, “wouldn’t it be funny if our case study was Disneyland.” Well…it wasn’t but it was a close second, Ocean Park amusement park.

As the bus drove up we were all wondering what we could do at the park since we were all dressed in suits and heels. Well we were seated in a covered amphitheater and introduced to the general manager who runs the park. He spent the next 2 hours giving us a very detailed presentation of the parks plans for expansion. The plans were exciting to see. From additional rides, and animal exhibits to a north/south pole exhibit that will have snow year-round for kids to play in. As the gentleman spoke, he talked about how different Ocean Park is from “where the mouse lives” and that in many ways the two parks compliment each other. The level of questions from the teams was high after the realization that the case that we will receive tomorrow is based on the Ocean Park expansion. What will it be about???

We did get a short run through their Halloween Bash Haunted House-not too bad, I feared the worst and didn’t scream once!

After our visit we were taken to Citi headquarters for lunch and to meet their executives. Having just left an amusement park to go to the 50th floor of a downtown high rise was quite a dichotomy. The students had more of an opportunity to mingle, and the food was very good.

It is now 3 or so in the afternoon. Most students and advisors looked forward to getting back, changing out of those suits and relaxing. I knew our team was going to do some homework before the big day tomorrow when the case is distributed!!!

We are extremely fortunate to have this educational and cultural experience for our students. What an amazing opportunity for experiential learning!

Posted by Dinko Lakic for Janet Amador

Valuation Workshop

Today I went to a Valuation Workshop put on by the Haas School. I’m interested in finance, and after the Goldman Sachs case competition, I got excited about learning what valuation is all about. The workshop’s instructor was from Training the Street, a company that trains a lot of investment bank employees. This guy really knew his stuff and he made the subject, which I’m sure is normally quite dry, rather interesting. Since I’m only a Junior, I haven’t taken Intro to Finance yet, so some of the stuff was way over my head, but for the most part the instructor was able to break things down “Barney-style” for us and that really helped convey the material. It was kinda rough being in the auditorium for 4 hours with only two breaks, but it was definitely worth it. Now that I have a better sense of what finance is about, specifically valuation, I’m psyched about taking Intro to Finance next semester.

2008 Hong Kong Case Competition Part 1

The students on our external 2008 Hong Kong case competition team are:

  1. Sagar Gupta
  2. Sean Huang
  3. Jimmy Shi
  4. Wei Li

The advisor accompanying our team is Ms. Janet Amador, Director of Admissions and Operations for the Haas Undergraduate Program.

Our arrival to Hong Kong was thankfully uneventful. The weather at 6:05 in the morning was 79 degrees and 90% humidity. It was quiet, warm and stuffy. We had our transportation to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) waiting for us, and the 50 minute drive was great. The Kowloon and Hong Kong areas are rich with new and old architecture. The skyline is filled with tall skyscrapers, and the apartment complexes are close to the city. We were lucky to get here early and to meet up with our student ambassador, Vishal. He is a 4th year student at HKUST.

We decided to walk around this beautiful seaside campus, what a view! The white buildings are nestled into the mountains and sea is right below. The team decided to go out shopping. According to their report upon their return they found some great bargains.
In the evening we met up with Nicole who is an EAP student from Cal studying here for the term. She joined us for dinner. Vishal came too so we had a fun group together to celebrate our arrival in Hong Kong.

More information about our case competition programs is available at http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/Undergrad/casecomp.html

Posted by Dinko Lakic for Janet Amador

Mid-Terms Over…Still Interviewing

Hi everyone. I’m taking a little break from reading advanced accounting (woo hoo) to post my first blog. I’m a Senior at Haas. I transferred from Santa Barbara City College in July of 2007. This is a great forum for me to share with you some of the experiences I am having here so you can get a better idea what life is like at Haas.

At this time, most students are finishing up mid-terms. Most of mine were within a two week period. I had four and finished my last one last week. I’m glad that’s over because things can get somewhat back to normal. This is also the time when most seniors are going through recruiting interviews for full time employment when we graduate in May. It’s really great being here because there are a lot of companies that specially come recruit at UC Berkeley because of Haas. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to interview with them. This past week I have had interviews with some of the top four accounting firms and have some more interviews scheduled next week.

It’s a little hectic trying to juggle my class load and find the time to go to the Cal Career Center for interviews but I’m lucky that I live close to campus and the Career Center so that I can quickly run home to change and then head back to school.

Okay, back to the books. I’m glad it’s Thursday because tomorrow is Friday. Finally…the weekend.