In February, MSc Management students Himadeep, Sufjan and Kristina participated in KPMG’s prestigious International Case Competition (KICC) in Prague. Representing Imperial College as a team of four, including Mathematics student Edoardo, they analysed different cases and companies in competition against students from other institutions.
In the throws of university deadlines, the team was assigned the challenging task of assessing the future strategy of the international humanitarian NGO Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) for the qualification round. Presenting to a team of KPMG professionals, the team recommended short- and long-term strategies with regards to MSF’s financial sustainability, missions and ethics, whilst preserving its core values of independence, impartiality, neutrality and accountability. Each recommendation included cost-benefit and impact analyses on MSF’s global operations. For example, the team addressed the ethical question of providing aid to injured fighters who were engaged in warfare. They employed the ‘proportionality test’ employed in constitutional courts, a method of assessing and identifying one of two colliding rights that best corresponds with an ideal outcome, as part of their recommendation. With regards to financial sustainability, the team recommended gift-based financing through strategic partnerships with corporations in the long term (such as UNICEF’s partnership with Procter and Gamble), as well as a digital strategy involving social media campaigns and a mobile app with a strategic game, in the short term. Having received great feedback from KPMG and enjoyed some sightseeing in Prague, the team qualified for the national round.
This time, the team was given a detailed case study with only three hours to identify and analyse its key business issues, develop a compelling set of recommendations and prepare a presentation for KPMG judges. They had to create a new airline concept that could survive in the current competitive market environment, whilst ranking the most important factors that the airline should consider as part of its strategy. Instead of assessing problems from the passengers’ perspective and ranking customer satisfaction as a key deciding factor, the team focussed on the airline’s financial and operational efficiency, and developed a strategic recommendation based on the data provided. Their solution for sustaining the airline’s industry leadership was focussed on developing a niche offering through accommodating for a small number of business class passengers and filling the rest of the airline’s interior with cargo to maximise efficiency, having redesigned the interiors. The team was praised for its innovative perspective and particularly unique approach by KPMG executives.
Having returned from Prague, the team expressed their enjoyment of the KICC experience. Not only did it hone their team management, time management and communications skills, but it also provided an opportunity to demonstrate their composure under pressure and ability to recommend strategic solutions. They highly recommend KICC because it can develop students’ consulting experience and improve their skills, as long as they can bear slightly turbulent plane journeys en route!
Camille is studying our MSc Management programme.