A few years ago, our organization made it a priority to compete in as many competitions as possible. The reasoning behind it was clear-cut: practice makes perfect. "There is no better scenario possible than the one of being forced to cooperate on a project with strangers under time pressure. Particularly in those circumstances, the merits of advanced negotiation and team communication skills can really make a difference."
A statement in which we swiftly proved ourselves right quite quickly. The past few years, we have successfully participated in several competitions. After keen preparations and a careful pick of competitions that intrigued us, we were proud to return home with some impressive performances and prices. A few examples: the Solvay Business Games, the Vlerick M&A Challenge, ICC Mediation Competition.
In short, the path we chose turned out to be a right one. We found a niche in which there really existed a need for students to be trained in, and we worked on it. Above all, it is a great way to learn and bond with your peers. And loads of fun! We would be folly not to invest in the matter.
Besides that, we had already noticed before that one of the biggest flaws of our association’s approach is that when we practice amongst ourselves, we suffer the ‘safe classroom’-bubble. After all, the students present really want to push their empathy and problem-solving abilities as much as possible. This often results in an over-cooperative mindset in which all actors sometimes get too eager to come to a solution. In that endeavor, they forget more than often the real goal of the exercise: the process itself.
For all those reasons mentioned above, we compete in all sorts of competitions and as much as possible. Keeping quality and result in mind of course. It is fair to say that due to those several ongoing projects, we did create some confusion. We managed to always label it differently.
With that in mind, we started timbering on some re-branding and a clear path for the future. From now on, we make a clean distinction between:
The first branch, called the Competition Track from now on, is only available for our members and alumni. In this curriculum, we cooperate with companies and professionals. They coach and prepare us for national and international negotiation or mediation competitions. With a small team per competition, we prepare months beforehand in order to ensure a maximized learning curve and the deliverance of top-notch results.
The second branch is the Business Games initiative, on which we have started collaborations with other student organizations. As this project is still work-in-progress, we do better to remain somewhat mysterious about it. No matter how it works out precisely, the central question here is: “How do you train students in becoming as efficient as possible when being confronted with a case that has to be solved in a limited amount of time with people they have never met before”.
In conclusion, this is what is going on behind the scenes concerning our competition-participation ambitions. As we have the pedal to the metal more than ever on the matter, we are making all preparations needed. This way, we ensure that as many as possible can participate in the competition they want. With a supportive entourage that brings out the best version of themselves.
In the upcoming weeks we will inform and publish more on the matter, so stay tuned!