The Zurich Enterprise Challenge (ZEC) is a global platform that offers opportunities to young business minds to apply their theoretical business skills in solving real corporate challenges and finding solutions that can improve business operations.
The challenge is open to Masters, MBA or PhD students from any university or business school? Participants should have an interest in management, finance and risk management or similar subjects. It is a team challenge, with teams consisting of 3-4 members, with each member required to create a ‘Project Firefly’ profile.
Project Firefly is an independent global platform dedicated to find top talent from around the world and connect them with global, regional and national corporations. The initiative promotes meritocracy, giving highly motivated students and recent graduates from any background a chance to distinguish themselves and is an opportunity to obtain internships and job opportunities. Project Firefly evaluates the submissions on a double-blind basis using its Academic Review Board made up of renowned professors located around the world. Project Firefly’s founding sponsor is Credit Suisse.
Since inception the initiative has built a community of students and recent graduates that numbers in the tens of thousands, from over 2,000 institutions across more than 180 countries. “Over the years a number of Henley students have participated in the challenges and have excelled. Most recently they have recognised Team Sakunda from Henley Africa who have been successful through their work with the global insurer and its corporate client Kuehne + Nagel,” says Jon Foster-Pedley, dean of Henley Business School Africa.
“The Challenge is premised on the Zurich Risk Room, a multivariate country-risk assessment tool designed to illustrate the impact of multivariate risks on individual countries and the complex interconnectivity between the different types of risks,” says Mr Foster-Pedley.
Tobias Mabuto, one of the Henley students that participated in the 2016 challenge. “Last year the school posted an announcement for the Zurich Enterprise Challenge 2016 on the blackboard. My colleagues and I were interested and we entered the competition. We excelled in the challenge and subsequently were appointed as ambassadors for the 2017 challenge for which entries have just opened.”
“Our objective as ambassadors is to reach out to current Henley MBA students, from first year to third year, raising awareness about the competition and offering a chance to those who are willing to partake in the challenge,” said Mr Mabuto.
The challenge is over 3 phases:
1. Students are given a hypothetical situation which they need to solve. Successful candidates are chosen and proceed to stage 2 where they are given real corporate challenges from reputable corporates to solve.
2. Real corporate challenges are tackled. Here, two teams are partnered to one corporate body and work independently to develop a solution to the problem. The results are reviewed by the company and the Academic Review Board of the ZEC.
3. The top two winners travel for the grand prize presentation. All phase two participants are awarded participation certificates.
The advantages to the top participants are the possibility for networking, job opportunities and free business consulting experience.
“Team Sakunda, participated in the 2016 ZEC. It comprised myself (as team leader), M Marema, L Chikeyi and P Phaiphai. We made it into the top 20 of the global business school participants and were promoted to phase two where we partnered with Kuehne + Nagel, a global logistics firm of over 115years, headquartered in Switzerland”.
“Our task was to develop a dynamic risk and opportunity analysis framework for the pharma business in the logistics industry by focusing on Kuehne + Nagel’s business in the Asia Pacific region,” he said.
“It was an enriching experience where we gained much business consulting experience,” he concluded.