The Global Management Challenge is one of the largest strategy and management competitions in the world. Based on simulation of real life business scenarios, the contest has so far seen more than 500,000 university students participate in 30 countries across the planet.

This year, the global competition made its debut into Nigeria courtesy of Coca-Cola. The maiden edition featured 80 first class students from various departments of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) divided into 20 teams of 4 students each.

The challenge ran for five weeks during which the teams met twice a week to take managerial decisions on their virtual businesses. These decisions were fed weekly onto the GMC simulation platform and the effects of their decisions on the businesses were in turn recorded after a few days.

Competing teams deliberating during weekly work sessions

After six weeks of intense contest, the winning team was unveiled at the national finals featuring a glamourous cocktail event well attended by top university leadership and students as well as Coca-Cola associates and customers.

The team of four final year students comprising Abdullahi Salimat (Department of Finance), Adeniyi Talabi (Department of Systems Engineering), Oyekan Idris (Department of Accounting) and Olubodun Sulaiman (Department of Business Administration) came tops for their innovative business solutions. With the win, the four budding business leaders dubbed the ‘Team Coke’ secured tickets for the international appearance in Dubai where they represented Nigeria.

The winners of the Global Management Challenge

At the global finals held from 16th to 18th April 2018 in Dubai, ‘Team Coke’ representing Nigeria battled it out with contestants from 23 countries across four continents. Now back from Dubai, Salimat expressed gratitude to Coca-Cola on behalf of the team for the exposure gained, qualifying their participation in the Global Management Challenge competition as one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.

Warmly recounting memories from the competition, the team of four finalists commented, “The experience was fantastic and challenging, we learnt strategic thinking during the entire period of the competition, diligent and critical analysis because we needed to analyze trends and understand the market at every quarter. The competition helped us bridge the gap between theory and practice, helping us to think outside the box,” he said.

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Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe lauded the initiative, terming it as timely and commendable. He stated, “This couldn’t have come at a better time. The initiative ties into the University’s objectives to be a solution driven business school that leverages the knowledge of business simulation and power software to train 21st century class of business executives. We are really grateful to Coca-Cola for sponsoring this project.”

On his part, Ryan Fayan, Global Management Challenge Coordinator expressed delight with the contestants for giving their best. “It’s quite impressive, the solutions they brought to the table. It goes to show the amount of budding business talent waiting to be discovered in Nigeria.

I am quite optimistic that the winning team will do extremely well at the finals in Dubai,” he opined. He disclosed that plans are underway to expand the competition to more universities across Nigeria.

Coca-Cola Nigeria used this platform to engage university students and reinforce its presence amongst this critical audience. On campus activations during the six-week contest period included product sampling, brand presence, cash prizes for all participants, as well as coaching intervention by high level key note speakers including Enitan Oyenuga, the West Africa Business Unit HR Director.

Enitan Oyenuga,  West Africa Business Unit HR Director

Discussing Coca-Cola’s participation in the competition, Enitan highlighted the company’s commitment to quality education stating, “At Coca-Cola, we believe that the right education has the potential to impact every aspect of life, so education remains central to our CSR interventions; this is why we have sent the best four students from the GMC training to the finals of the competition in Dubai to expand their horizons and give them further exposure to the cutting-edge technology driving the corporate world.”

Coca-Cola Nigeria believes that investing in the next generation of leaders will result in positive, sustainable change and as such is committed to supporting similar platforms that foster the development of upcoming talent.