Undergrad nets bronze by forecasting future of business

May 08, 2012

A Beedie School of Business undergraduate student has placed in the top three in the recent Focus 2040 case competition by predicting what the business world will look like in the year 2040.

Focus 2040 is open to undergraduate and graduate business students and is the first competition of its kind in the HRM and organizational strategy sector. Entrants have one task: to predict the world of work in the year 2040.

Beedie undergrad student Tiffanie Lai teamed up with UBC student Amanda Feng to enter the competition, hosted by McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business. Their presentation earned them the third-place prize, which included $2000 in prize money. It was one of four SFU entrants to reach the final 25 in the competition.

Their vision was based on the future of the business world being very much an internationalized one. “Our final presentation focused on an immense shift in global economic power,” explains Lai. “We predict that current emerging economies will overtake the established economic powers, giving rise to an entirely new generation of employees. It will be essential for candidates to be multilingual, cultured and equipped with a roster of international experiences.”

The pair researched current business trends and surveys in order to develop their vision. The judges were impressed by their ideas, which included an international nexus pass allowing people in business to cross borders quickly and easily to facilitate the internationalization of business.

For various reasons, Lai and Feng were not present in the same city during preparation for the competition, and were forced to communicate by phone, email and Skype. “We had a number of hurdles to overcome while developing our vision but we were inspired by the creative edge involved and were determined to persevere.”

Following on from Beedie undergrad Ashlee Liu’s third place finish in last year’s competition, fellow Beedie student John Panzo joined Lai in the final 10 this year, while Kittima Raksarat and Natalia Soloschenko were top 25 finalists.

Held this year at the Hamilton Art Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario, the competition consisted of three phases, with the first two requiring written entries, and the final featuring oral and visual presentations from 10 finalists to a panel of academic and senior industry practitioners. Contestants are allowed 15 minutes for their final presentation before a brief Q&A session from the judges.

Lai is no stranger to case competitions, having participated in JDC West twice, finishing in fourth place both times, and CMA BC where she placed third. “Focus 2040 differs greatly from other case competitions: it’s much more about being creative,” she says. “However, my previous participation in case competitions definitely helped in preparing for Focus 2040 and I am extremely thankful to the Beedie School of Business for enabling me to experience so many different competitions.”

For more information about Focus 2040, visit www.focus2040.ca/

Tags: , , , , ,