Budding St Paul’s economists tell Anheuser-Busch InBev what they did wrong with SABMiller acquisition
Vijanda Pack, Rodney Hamunyela and Adam Johnston, three Grade 10 learners at St Paul’s in Windhoek, were overjoyed when they learnt that an essay they submitted in a South African business competition in July this year, has landed them a spot among the top 20 submissions from about 400 participating schools from all over Africa.
Styling themselves as Team 10LV, the threesome was encouraged by their economics teacher, Mrs. Leonie Visser to enter the CFO Junior Continental Case Study Competition in April this year, barely a few months after they started reading economics as a subject. Their particular case study revolved around strategies AB InBev considered for entering the African market after the now well-known take-over of SABMiller by the multinational brewer.
In their essay, the three freshman economists proposed alternative strategies which they deemed would have reduced the entry risk for AB InBev. Their approach offered a practical solution based on five different scenarios. This essay impressed the adjudicators to such an extent that it qualified the team for a spot among the top 20. The essay was accompanied by an explanatory video and a power-point slide presentation.
After qualifying among the top 20 in July, the team had just three months to get their voters to vote for them on social media and prepare for the next round which took place in South Africa.
“At the beginning of October we were flown to Johannesburg after we got the news early in August that we were in the top 6, for the third stage of the competition where we had to do a ten minute presentation, afterwards fielding questions from the panel of judges who tested us on the validity of our assumptions, our proposed strategies, and our solutions for mitigating risk,” said Rodney to convey an understanding of the pressure all teams had to handle during the two-day semi-finals and finals. The team prepared a short one-minute promotional video which they distributed to their facebook followers to garner more support for their shot at the winning trophy, for Stage 2 of the competition.
Again, their rapprochement of analysis, assumptions and alternative strategies served them well.
Their take on AB InBev’s African entry impressed the judges although they did not make the mark to the top 3. Crucial feedback from the judges after the finals highlighted the weaker points in their arguments but helped cement the foundation for St Paul’s future participation in this competition.
Eventually, after the two-day ordeal, Team Hermes from Crawford College, Sandton, came out as the winners. Along with the winners, in the top 3 were the semi-finalists from Zimbabwe and Kimberly, South Africa.
Asked whether they will participate again, Rodney said he is keen but Adam and Vijanda expressed reservations. All three agreed that they have learned an enormous amount, not only of their new subject economics, but also of its application in real-life scenarios.
“We want to encourage other Namibian schools also to participate in this competition;” said Mrs. Visser, adding “and we definitely want to have another St Paul’s team in the finals next year.”
Another feather in St Paul’s Team 10LV’s cap is the fact that together with a girl from Zambia, they were the youngest participants in the top 6 and performed better than many Grade 11 and Grade 12 teams against whom they competed on a not-so-equal footing.
The CFO competition was founded by Mr. Valentine Nti of The CharterQuest Financial Training Institute, South Africa. From humble beginnings, The CFO Case Study Competition has developed into one of South Africa’s leading business competitions for high schools and universities.
And over the past year it has expanded into a continental competition for all African learners in The CFO Continental Edition. The CFO Case Study Competition has been dubbed since by many as “the next Idols” in the education sector.