Hamed Kazim giving the award to the nominee for Jury Prize 1 Team DP World at the UAE Global Management Challenge awards dinner in Dubai.— KT photo by Leslie Pableo
Team Desert Gurus from the online fashion store Namshi.com were on Sunday crowned the winners of the UAE’s first Global Management Challenge, the world’s largest strategy and management competition.
Launched in partnership with Khaleej Times, the Global Management Challenge UAE aims to bolster the management skills required to build a knowledge economy. Khaleej Times presented the winner’s trophy to the Desert Gurus during an awards dinner at the H Hotel in Dubai.
Also in attendance as chief guests were Ibrahim Mossa Jamel, director of operations, education cluster at Tecom Investment; Abdulrehman Sami Saqr, senior vice president of the human resources department and head of Emiratisation at First Gulf Bank; and Hamed Kazim, board member of Commercial Bank of Dubai and senior advisor to PwC.
After a gruelling three months, the Desert Gurus, a group of management professionals from Namshi, emerged as the victors from among the 63 teams, comprising of over 300 participants, that participated from various companies and universities around the UAE. Team members Taras Kozyk, Sahil Dhingra, Robert O’Kirwan and Sezen Sayoglu will now compete with counterparts from several countries for the world title, to be held in Sochi, in September later this year.
Taras Kozyk, strategic projects manager at Namshi.com, said that the competition provided good exposure for his team and that he wanted to thank the organisers of the competition for the opportunity. “We got to go up against teams from different backgrounds, so it was an amazing experience. We were up against teams with students as well as teams with professionals who had work experience.”
“Having taken part in this competition, we all gained a lot of practical experience on how decisions are made in companies. If it is a small company or start up, you get to see the effect of the decision you made across all the departments within that company. Having worked in a start up like Namshi has helped us to make better decisions,” said Sezen Sayoglu, digital marketing manager at Namshi.com.
The competition, aligned with the UAE government’s vision of investing in human development, created a platform to equip business professionals and students with practical knowledge of managing a company. The UAE recently ranked 30th in the index of the UN Human Development Report and emerged as the top Arab country among 187 countries around the world, for its contribution to various industries including business, education and training.
“What we achieved with the competition is a small but significant contribution towards human development,” said Mian Muneer Uddin, managing partner of Beaufort Associates, the consulting and advisory services firm that brought the Global Management Challenge to the UAE. “Not only has the competition equipped all participants with the knowledge of running a company, but the skills learnt during the past few months will be used to develop careers and enhance businesses here in the UAE. Congratulations to Team Desert Gurus on being the UAE’s first Global Management Challenge champions.”
The Desert Gurus were followed by The Simulators from the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT); and Stratesphere from the Masdar Institute of Technology in third place. In addition, the jury selected two Emirati teams, DP World and Dubal, who were awarded for their achievement, consistency of performance and dedication throughout the competition. Oasha Abdulla Al Khumiree, an undergraduate from HCT and member of the Simulators team, noted that the competition had provided a great learning environment for undergraduates such as herself.
“This [competition] has given us experience that we will use in the real world. There should be more competitions such as these in the region to help students gain hands on experience and deal with the real world after they graduate.”
Edgar Eugenio Samano Baca, a member of Team Stratesphere from Masdar Institute, said: “For us competitions such as these are really important because we are all engineers and none of our coursework has exposed us to an environment such as this, so the learning experience has been massive.”
The Global Management Challenge comprises of a program wherein teams of managers and university students manage a virtual company in competition with each other, with the objective of achieving the highest investment performance.
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