On a Business Case Study Competition

Recently, my friends and I took part in a business case study competition.

It was somewhat surprising, how I managed to be involved in this. I saw the team leader; he asked  me if I was interested; I said I would join only if I wouldn't be a liability; he said they would consider about it; we parted; about two weeks later, out of the blue, I received an email from the leader to meet at a place for discussion.

It was part of the "Remaking Me, Experience Life" campaign, I supposed. To take part in different activities and stretch my growth. There was a growing realisation that many people around me were studying and consuming without awareness, satisfied with living life without being alive. I didn't want this. I didn't want to be like this.

This competition was eye-opening in many ways. I had to pick up on the basics of marketing in a few day (managed to acquire a vocabulary of technical jargons although I'm a long way from applying them well). I didn't manage to contribute much ideas (since I wasn't trained in business) and felt rather useless during discussions. I managed only one hour of sleep during the 24 hours challenge (a nightmare since I sleep at least 7 hours regularly). I didn't have proper meals and  broke my golden rule of not having snacks.

From these activities, I've gained many insights into the technicalities of business:

We long for people to fail. In their failures, we become stronger.

During presentations, we analysed our opponents' merits - or lack thereof. We whispered our observations, snug in the row furthest away from the stage. We fretted when they presented well and tried to extinguish our glee when they slipped.

*This is a problem not restricted to business. It happens whenever there is competition of any form.

We're told what's cool and we buy into it.

There is a newfound respect for marketeers. They devote their life to selling products, to telling people what to buy.

Sometimes, they tell people what they need. That they can be happy if and only if they possess product XXX.

The next time you want to buy an Apple product, consider the efforts of an army of marketeers telling you what to buy and the expensive marketing campaigns subtly guiding your consumptive habits. (I'm not telling you what to not buy, but to consider your decisions with greater wisdom.)

In each transaction, there's a loser.

On the stage, when we were about to receive the results, all of us were trembling. We had done well thus far but really wanted to go further.

And we got through! :]

We're going to Vietnam for the final round! (Exuberant, exhilarated, exciting!) Our joy was encompassing. We were relieved and glad and hopeful. Having a mere hour of sleep, irregular meals and horrible caffeinated products didn't feel that torturous after all.

Those tidal waves of felicity ebbed when I left Hon Sui Sen Memorial Hall. Outside, groups that didn't get through were languishing and their disappointment was compelling.

In every competition, there will be fewer winners than losers.

A fight, always.