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University of North Carolina Crowned Champion of One of World's Largest Business Case Competitions at NUS Business School


November 15, 2013 - Singapore

The University of North Carolina's Master of Business Administration (MBA) students have beaten more than 650 teams to be champions of Cerebration 2013, one of the world's largest student-organised business case competitions. The team from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, consisting of Yohei Yamamoto, Masanori Udagawa and Yasuhiro Oki, clinched the top prize of S$10,000 with their winning vision of personal mobility in the year 2020.

Organised entirely by MBA students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, the competition also saw teams from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the Indian School of Business finishing as first and second runners-up respectively.

Each team consisted of up to three MBA students, who were tasked to propose innovative, implementable and scalable solutions to real business challenges faced by case sponsors -- ideas that have the potential to impact the future of society in areas such as personal mobility in mega-cities, personal technology and food security in emerging economies.

The UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School team's case was given by Daimler Financial Services. With stricter regulations, sustainability concerns and the increasing density of traffic forcing vehicle manufacturers to examine their long-term business strategies, Daimler Financial Services has been seeking a game-changing solution that will be the future of transport in emerging mega-cities.

The team impressed the judges with a proposal to give business people a means to enhance productivity during their commutes, instead of idling in traffic. Using the Daimler Group's strengths, the team proposed a line of large WiFi-enabled Mercedes Benz vehicles to transport groups of passengers. These vehicles would also be equipped with technology to calculate the shortest travel times to their destinations.

"We enjoyed and learned much from Cerebration 2013. We also used the knowledge we have gained in our MBA programme. Although we had to sometimes debate each other, we succeeded because of teamwork," said Yohei Yamamoto.

Now in its ninth edition, the annual competition has attracted wide international interest from students and companies over the years. Organisers received entries from students in Europe, Latin America, North America, Middle East and Asia this year. Cerebration 2013, which was sponsored by Daimler Financial Services, Lenovo, Monsanto, Singapore Airlines (SIA) Engineering Company and Spring Singapore, also attracted submissions from more than half of the top 50 business schools in the latest Financial Times' Global MBA Rankings.

Nine teams had earlier faced off in the semi-final on 13 November 2013, including eight teams who won a trip to Singapore:

  • Booth School of Business, University of Chicago (United States)
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School (Hong Kong)
  • ESADE Business School (Spain)
  • Fuqua School of Business, Duke University (United States)
  • Indian School of Business (India)
  • Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina (United States)
  • Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
  • Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto (Canada)
  • University of St Gallen (Switzerland)

"Cerebration 2013 has been an exhilarating experience for the whole organising team," said Mr Alejandro Uribe, leader of the Cerebration 2013 organising team and NUS MBA student. "We are honoured to be able to host the best minds from business schools around the world and give them a platform to develop solutions to some of the issues facing businesses, society and emerging economies today. We would like to thank our participants, sponsors and NUS Business School for all their contributions and assistance," added Mr Uribe.

"I would like to congratulate all our winners and NUS MBA students for a job well done. Through the cases in Cerebration and the proposals from participants, the organising team has certainly lived up to our school's mission, which is to advance knowledge and develop leaders with the aim of serving business and society," said Professor Bernard Yeung, Dean and Stephen Riady Distinguished Professor, NUS Business School.

Cerebration, a combination of the words 'cerebral' and 'celebration', is aimed at providing an opportunity for MBA students worldwide to make the leap from classroom learning to engaging with some of the world's leading organisations. Past winners include the London Business School, Rotman School of Management, Fuqua School of Management and INSEAD.

More information can be found at: http://bschool.nus.edu/cerebration.

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Mr Christopher CHONG
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NUS Business School
National University of Singapore
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