Good News | SME Undergraduates Won the Third Prize in Alibaba GET Global Challenge (South Korea)
As the supply chain of social supplies, such as masks, was disrupted by the pandemic outbreak, a team composed of students from the School of Management and Economics (SME) and School of Science and Engineering (SSE), The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen (CUHK-Shenzhen) applied block chain technology to help solve this social issue in supply chians, and won the third prize in the final of 2020 Alibaba GET Global Challenge (South Korea).
MediBaro Group Photo
The Global E-Commerce Talent (GET) Global Challenge was initiated by Alibaba Business School this year. With the theme of "Solutions to Digital Transformation under the Pandemic", the new generation of entrepreneurs simulated a cooperation with Alibaba Group's mentors and business partners to conceive digital solutions to help global companies and organizations recover quickly during post-pandemic. The competition attracted students from 13 different countries and regions around the world, including China, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Uzbekistan, France, Mexico, Colombia and some African countries.
Soomin Kim, Aurelia Surja and Jordan Nathaniel from the winning team "MediBaro" are from SME, and two of them are members of the Case Competition Team (CCT). Justina Sulystio is from SSE. The competition in the South Korean was fierce. Most of the participating teams were comprised of graduate students or employers working at large-scale IT companies. They come from world-class universities such as the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University, and Seoul University, as well as international well-known companies such as Google and Samsung. The team representing CUHK-Shenzhen was the only team composed of undergraduates in the competition. Thanks to the professional guidance provided by Prof. Stella So, Assistant Dean of SME and other professors, the students presented calmness when facing the competitors with social experiences. They applied the skills and knowledge learned in CCT and gained benefits from professors’ suggestions. Finally, they obtained a satisfactory result in the competition.
Let’s hear their sharings
Q: Could you introduce your project?
Soomin Kim: MediBaro is a B2B contract service through Smart Contract. As I am working in a trading company as an intern (a division of export) in South Korea, I participated in exporting personal protective equipment (PPE) to other countries. I realized many countries do not use the current B2B transaction platforms because of two reasons: continuous fraudulent transaction and burdensome process of notarization. My teammates and I figured out that this problem can be solved through utilizing Smart Contract. So we decided to provide a B2B contract service through smart contract technology.
Q:How did SME case competition training help you prepare for the competition?
Aurelia Surja: When working inside a team, it may be tough for team members to notice the weaknesses of the team’s idea. As we are confined by the team members’ perspectives, our thought processes may be very narrow. Thus, listening to different point of view helps our team gain insights. Also it leads us to discover certain aspects of our business plan that can be improved. Suggestions from Prof. Stella helped in this matter. With abundant experience in training students for case competitions, Prof. Stella gave us many inputs on how to improve our idea. The plan we initially thought was perfect, turns out to be far from it. Prof. Stella helped us, especially to view our business from the stakeholders’ perspectives. Without her help, I think our team would not have noticed some details that became crucial to our business plan.
Q: Did you encounter any difficulties or challenges in preparing for the competition? And how did you conquer these challenges?
Justina Sulystio: Participating in a competition remotely during a pandemic comes with a whole new variety of challenges. Team meetings can be tricky, and ideating for the competition is more challenging when you and your team can’t be in one room, scribbling ideas on the whiteboard for everyone to see. Keeping a good communication (of ideas) among the team members is one of the ingredients for competing in competition – with or without a pandemic, through Zoom meetings or in person. It’s crucial to make sure everyone’s on the same page, that our ideas and knowledge are aligned – because the slightest doubt among the members is a seed that will eventually cause the fall of the team’s confidence to succeed.
As a student who has never formally indulged in the business world, you can also imagine how challenging it was – from being so comfortable in the technical side of things to have an influx of information about the workings of the business world shoved at you. I managed to get past all the confusion and naivety by reading case competitions that people have done, conducting market and competitive research, and asking for feedback from those who are more experienced, like what our team has done with Prof. Stella’s help. All in all, these competitions aren’t just about competing and proving whose idea is better, but it is also a process of learning. We have gotten and conquered so many things as a team while taking part in Alibaba GET Challenge. And really, the experience is just a reminder that you can’t and won’t grow unless you are constantly challenged. You can’t grow if you stay confined in the boundaries of your comfort.
Q: What do you gain from participating in this competition?
Jordan Nathaniel: After participating in this competition, I gained three main things. First is a closer bond with my teammates. Working and solving problems together with others reinforces friendship and creates a shared unforgettable experience. As your work together and build upon each other’s strengths, you’ll learn things about them you’ve previously never known! Secondly, it improved my critical thinking skills. Case competitions are about thinking outside the box, delving into tricky problems and creating innovative solutions. Thus, we have to extensively research be creative in information gathering. Lastly, it made me realize my strengths and weaknesses in case analysis, presentations, and teamwork. Identifying my weaknesses has allowed me to work on them and improve them for any future competitions and eventually for my career.
Case competitions are about thinking outside the box, delving into tricky problems and creating innovative solutions. Thus, we have to extensively research be creative in information gathering. Lastly, it made me realize my strengths and weaknesses in case analysis, presentations, and teamwork. Identifying my weaknesses has allowed me to work on them and improve them for any future competitions and eventually for my career.
Q: Any suggestions for other students who are interested in case competitions?
Jordan Nathaniel: My suggestion for other students regarding case competitions is simply - just do it! No one wins at every competition they participate it, but everyone comes out of it more experienced and knowledgeable. Don’t let your doubts stop you from applying. Apply even if you think you are unqualified. The point of learning is to develop your skills and educate yourself with new knowledge. Learn as you go. As you’ll inevitably be forced to do complex analysis like cash flow forecasts, you’ll get the hang out it in no time!
Comments from Professor
Prof. Stella SO
Assistant Dean of SME (Student Affairs)
The competition was hosted by Alibaba Business School. The age group of participants ranged from 18 to 30 years. Many of them have rich work experience in the technology industry. It is an excellent result that our student team can stand out and win the third prize in the competition of South Korea.
The pandemic outbreak disrupted the supply chain of social supplies such as masks. Our student team was inspired by things happening around them. Their projects used block chain technology to help society solve supply-side problems. It is worth mentioning that the team members actually live in different places, such as in South Korea or Indonesia. However, for the competition, they insisted on conducting online training with me to improve the plan. Delightfully, through their hard work and calmness in the competition, our students showed an outstanding performance!
This is the first time for the students of CUHK-Shenzhen to participate in the Alibaba GET Global Challenge. The competition gives our students an opportunity to think about how to use digital technology to solve problems. Students who are interested in digital technology innovation can actively participate in future competitions to display their creativity and improve themselves.