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【Honor】The international team of the College of Management enter the world’s top five in FECC for the first time


On January 9th, 2021, the final of the 8th Global Family Enterprise Case Competition, held by the University of Vermont, began. Twelve graduate student teams from ten countries competed fiercely for the trophy. Led by Professor Chen Shyh-Jer, an international team from the College of Management at NSYSU took part in the competition; they were the only Taiwanese team.

Prof. Chen, from the Human Resource Management Department within the College of Management, coached a distinguished international team composed of IBMBA Taiwanese students Trista Hsu, Jessica Lai, and Stan Tsai from the US. It was their first time taking part in the competition, but they immediately qualified for the final and placed in the top five in the master’s category.

Over 240 students worldwide participated in the 8th FECC. For the first time, the case competition was held online, due to the pandemic. Competitors were required to go through three rounds of appraisal in order to qualify for the finals. In each round, each team was assigned to one case regarding a family enterprise. The teams had to analyze topics from the different areas of Family, Business, and Family & Business, and also to come up with solutions. As the competition went on, the preparation time gradually decreased from one month for the preliminary to one week for the semi-final, and then 48 hours for the final; each team member had to put all their heart and strength into the preparation.

During the three rounds of the competition, the teams were analyzing and proposing strategies for improving issues such as succession, operation, and SDG for companies including Jebsen & Jessen Group in Hong Kong, Glodiee (the spice manufacturer) in India, and Aldi (the supermarket chain) in Germany. Tsai explained that it was a wonderful experience to compete in the FECC; the team members were able to understand operation models and governing strategies by analyzing cases from different countries’ family businesses. Furthermore, based on the judges’ feedback and questions, they were also able to understand their disadvantages and therefore minimize them.

The most challenging part of the competition was the Q&A after the presentation. Lai stated that the ten minutes of questions constituted the essence of the whole event. During the conversation with the judges, they were able to think about the questions from different point of view and absorb valuable experience from experts in the industry. Moreover, they learned to listen carefully to questions and not rush to answer them so that they could have time to think things over thoroughly and give a well-organized answer. Hsu explained that qualifying for the final was really exciting, but they know they still have a lot of room to grow. They gave special thanks to Prof. Chen for leading them in the competition, and to Prof. Qiong-Wen Tsao and Prof. Hao-Chieh Lin for assisting them during this time.

Advice for future competitors in the FECC

  1. Time management is important, especially for the last round in the final. Read a lot of cases regarding family businesses beforehand in order to elevate your analysis abilities.
  2. Imagine yourself as a consultant carrying out a proposal for a client; this will help you analyze the issue more effectively and present a better solution.
  3. Explain complicated concepts in a simple way so that people can thoroughly understand them. This is good for the proposal.

It was a big challenge for these NSYSU first-time participants to qualify for the final in this competition. Don’t hesitate to sign up if you are interested in family business and international competitions!

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