Despite initial losses in the final of the Hong Kong Management Game 2011, the champion team - Else - had persevered and eventually outsmarted four finalist teams.
"We lost money in the first two rounds," says Louis Ho Yun-lung, a member of the winning team Else. "But then we began to see a turnaround in our business and returned to black from round three onwards. It bolstered our confidence when we learned that we had implemented the right business strategies and begun making profits."
The game this year is more competitive because all five finalist teams competed last year and had thus become more experienced, Ho says.
The leader of Else, Eric Chan Kwok-san, attributed the team's victory to its strong numerical analytical capability. "It was also crucial that we maintained adequate time management throughout the final. Meanwhile, our business strategies were consistent. We were asked to market an upscale product and we had been consistent with our pricing strategies and did not let the prices go up and down as the other teams did," says Chan, a graduate of insurance, financial and actuarial analysis at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Ho and Chan were in last year's champion team - the Kwun Tong Maryknoll College (KTMC) Boys. The other two members of the winning team were Cheung Cheuk-kin, who studied biology at City University of Hong Kong and Suen Yiu-nga, a graduate of nursing at CUHK.
The game, organised annually by the Hong Kong Management Association, features a series of computer-simulated business situations with multiple virtual challenges posed by the organiser, based on realistic problems commonly encountered in the business world.
In teams of four, the contestants form their fictitious companies to market an imaginary product in the final. They tackle the challenges and outwit each other by formulating suitable business solutions based on data provided by the organiser. The team, which has made the most profit at the end, wins.
This year, Else took home a HK$10,000 cash prize and the South China Morning Post Perpetual Trophy, and each member received a round-trip Hong Kong to Singapore air ticket. The team will represent Hong Kong in the Asian Management Game 2011 which will be held in Macau in September.
The first runner-up was Aon United which won a cash prize of HK$7,500 while the second runner-up was MYAA which took home HK$2,500-cash prize. This year's sponsors are Canon Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Airways and Maxim's Group. South China Morning Post, Classified Post and Jiu Jik are the official media partners.
The four members of the winning team have been friends for over 10 years. "Our team made adequate division of labour because we needed to analyse a lot of data quickly before making decisions," Ho says. We assigned specific tasks based on each member's specialised knowledge. However, we made all the decisions together."
Good teamwork and cooperation helped the team tackle the toughest challenges. "Because I am detail-oriented, I was responsible for checking all the details in the text-based information provided by the organiser," says Suen.
"I have learned a great deal by observing how the experienced members approached the data analysis to reach the decisions," Cheung says.
The Hong Kong Management Game is helpful for the contestants in their future careers, Chan says. "We have learned to appreciate team work and picked up practical analytical skills."
The top three
Champion Else Cheung Cheuk-kin, Eric Chan, Louis Ho, Suen Yiu-nga
1st runner-up Aon United Alvin Lam, Eric Wong, Frederick Cheng, Lori Liu
2nd runner-up MYAA Choi Yuen-fong, Tony Wong Luen-tung, Wong Kwan-ping, Wong Wai-yee