The PolyU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Global Student Challenge (GSC) is an international business competition that encourages students across the world to develop a business plan for the most innovative and technically feasible ideas with the potential to drastically improve the lives of communities on a global scale. The competition offers a unique platform for international education, cultural and professional exchange and the once in a lifetime opportunity to turn ideas into tangible products and services. Kathleen Gerber, Ishu Kapoor and Jose Neves had the honour of being chosen as one of the top 20 finalists to compete against the brightest minds representing Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and Central and South America from June 24 to June 30, 2017 in Hong Kong in front of a panel of esteemed international judges.
Throughout the competition we had the opportunity to not only improve our business proposal by having it challenged by leading experts in their respective fields, but also had the privilege of improving our understanding of the cultural norms that exist within different parts of the world. This understanding will greatly benefit us to bridge academia into the globally interconnected business environment in the near future.
Our advice to anyone considering applying to the Global Student Challenge in 2019 would be to definitely apply! With the support of the CSA it is possible for any students to be able to experience the competition and enjoy the vibrant culture that makes up the beautiful city of Hong Kong!
Below, are the most valuable lessons we have learnt while attending GSC 2017:
Don’t hesitate to pursue opportunities, no matter how slim the chances may seem
While working on our entry into the Polyu competition, we thought the odds of us being selected as a finalist sat somewhere between slim and none as the competition was on a global scale. However, with determination to complete what we started, we worked on the project until it was polished. We were able to gain entrepreneurial skills by creating a new product, surveying a market to find out demand and assemble a comprehensive business plan including projected financials. We were impressed with our ability as a team to persevere, collaborate and strive for a goal which seemed out of reach. The day the GSC announced the top 20 worldwide, was the day we realized our goal of being selected was not slim at all! Selected as one of the top 20 teams worldwide from over 250 applicants we realized to seize every opportunity no matter how small or big or no matter how slim the chances may seem. With perseverance, collaboration and determination we were able to achieve one of our biggest accomplishments!
Be confident in your abilities
Arriving in Hong Kong, we quickly realized most of the teams we were competing against competed regularly in international competitions. An opportunity that the three of us never have had before. We were nervous as we felt we may be at a disadvantage of not ever participating in an international competition or our presentation abilities would not be up to par with the competition. However, when we received feedback from the judges after our presentation, we learned that our presentation was actually our strongest suit! The judges were impressed with our ability to deliver such a clear and concise presentation and mentioned it was one of the best they saw! We now realize, thanks to the countless group presentations we have done at the I.H. Asper School of Business it had given us the tools to deliver results on an international stage!
Take the time to enjoy your experiences and surroundings
We are grateful for the opportunity to be able to experience the vibrant city of Hong Kong. We did notice while we were taking full advantage of being in a new city, experiencing their culture and discovering the beauty of Hong Kong the other teams were staying in their rooms the entire trip to prepare for the presentation instead of taking breaks to explore a city and culture they may never have a chance to experience again. We noticed there wasn’t any correlation between the performance and how much they prepared while in Hong Kong. In fact, the team we spent the most time exploring Hong Kong with was the team that ended up winning the entire competition! We recommend participants to find a balance! We were able to find sufficient time to prepare to feel confident for the presentation but also be able to experience Hong Kong to the fullest.