2012 BCG Strategy Cup brought home by double-diploma team of ESSEC and Centrale Paris
Each year, the Boston Consulting Group brings together more than 150 teams from France’s most prestigious business and engineering schools to compete on two successive case studies
What is the BCG Strategy Cup?
This contest, which is organized annually by the strategy consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group, brings together more than 150 teams from all of France’s most prestigious business and engineering schools around two successive case studies. The first case study this year focused on Tupperware Nordics and strategies for improving the company’s sales. The second had to do with an opportunity for a major American wine group to buy a French winery.
Can you briefly describe your project and the major elements that helped you to win?
With the Tupperware case, we tried to be as thorough as possible and keep the full picture in mind, giving careful consideration to marketing just as much as finance and even management. We also tried to answer all of the questions in a balanced way so as not to limit ourselves to just those subjects that we were the most confident in.
For the final, we had a limited period of time in which we needed to make an acquisition recommendation for a client in the wine industry. We guessed that all of the finalist groups would probably have similar results for the analysis and calculations, which ended up being the case, so we spent a lot of time working on our core recommendations to be sure they were really convincing. Then we worked on recommendations that went beyond the subject at hand in order to stand out from our competitors.
Your team is made up of students from the double diploma program with ECP and ESSEC. In what ways do you think your experience with this program contributed to your victory?
It would be possible for the double diploma students to be accused of taking all of the same classes once they’ve arrived at ESSEC , and of having the same goals and aspirations. But in our case, the tracks at ESSEC are all very different. Jie and Jonathan are on the business finance track, Nicolas naturally leans more toward entrepreneurship, and Xavier follows the curriculum of the LVMH chair.
It’s this diversity of course tracks that allowed us to obtain a wide range of skills and approaches over our time at ESSEC and, which then contributed to giving our proposals a wider scope for the BCG Cup.
Once you have your double diploma in hand, what career plans do you have in store?
For our last year at Centrale, each of us is focusing on a different specialization: applied mathematics for Jie, energy for Jonathan, information systems for Nicolas, and industrial engineering for Xavier.
Even beyond the richness and range of these academic tracks, it’s their complementary nature that is most interesting to us; in a world where business problems are dealt with in an increasingly horizontal manner, technical competencies are naturally rounded out and enhanced by managerial knowledge.
We all hope to put this two-fold expertise to work in our chosen fields: financing for energy start-ups for Jonathan, branding in the wine industry for Xavier, business creation for Nicolas, and private equity for Jie.
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