In late March, four NYU Abu Dhabi seniors — Muhammad Awais Islam, Haoran Liang, Vivek Mukherjee, and Hyun Kyung Park — were announced as the winners of the P&G CEO Challenge. The team competed in four elimination rounds of exciting case study challenges against university students across the region, from the UAE, Bahrain, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
The group was tasked with managing a fictional launch of Hugo Energize, a men’s cologne, in the UAE. Phase one, titled "Marketing Manager Challenge," saw 20 teams promoted to phase two — the "Country Manager Challenge." Five teams were then promoted to phase three, the "CFO Challenge." The NYUAD team was the only team selected to represent the UAE in phase four, the "Final CEO Challenge."
Each successive round became increasingly difficult. The participants were given only one day to complete the third and fourth phases, for which the NYUAD team spent somewhere between 22 to 26 hours over the span of two days to prepare and compete. "Time was a serious challenge," said Liang, who is majoring in Chemistry with a concentration in Applied Mathematics.
"P&G's motto is 'Touching lives, improving life.' During our case studies, we always kept our core consumers in mind because that is who P&G attends to. Our strategy and solutions were structured around satisfying and targeting our core consumers," said Mukherjee, an Economics major with a concentration in Applied Mathematics.
In order to meet the challenge, the team organized itself in a way that leveraged each individual's strengths. "We learned how to organize roles for each team member. For instance, Econ and Math majors dealt with the financial problems, whereas the Psychology majors focused on the marketing strategy by analyzing consumer psychology," explained Liang.
The team got "a good exposure to the workings of a top fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firm," said Islam, an Economics and Mathematics double major with a concentration in Finance, and is happy about the win.
Photo credit: Image taken from P&G Saudi Arabia Facebook page. The image used here is a cropped version of the original.