Race to the Finnish Line at the Nordic Business and Design Case Competition

By Stephan Yapri, Fransiska Fannisari Go, and Kenny Hendra Hendriksen Heng, SMU Master of Science in Management students

Fransiska, Kenny, and Stefan from SMU’s Master of Science in Management (MiM) programme knew that taking on the challenge of the Nordic Business and Design Case Competition would be no mean feat. It was a proud moment when the team was announced 2nd runner up in the Best Idea category, claiming for the very first time a coveted place in this European case competition. In this short interview, they share their exciting journey.


Congratulations team! Can you share with us what motivated you to join this competition?

Fransiska: We got to know about the competition in an email from our beloved programme manager. She is the one who spurred us on to join this competition. Despite our circumstances at that time, she still encouraged us to give it try and gain the experience.

Stefan: It was Kenny who initiated the forming of this team, which led Fransiska and myself on this exciting journey.

Kenny: I would say it was also our inquisitiveness for a new learning experience and the faith that our team could truly go all the way and pull this off.


(L–R) Kenny Hendra Hendriksen Heng, Stephan Yapri and Fransiska Fannisari Go

What did you love about the competition?

Kenny: I love how the competition builds a bridge between Southeast Asian top universities and Finnish companies. The competition provided a unique learning experience with real business challenges.

Stefan: As for me, I would say the thrill of solving a real-world problem together with Fransiska and Kenny. The challenge of having to solve two business cases in a time pressured environment is an excitement in itself; as well as having the opportunity to apply what we had learnt in Term 1 of the MiM programme in our reports.

Fransiska: I have never joined a competition prior to this one, and it is an experience that I will cherish as it has brought me closer to my team members.


What were the challenges faced during the competition and how did you manage to overcome them?

Kenny: Time limitation was a big concern. The competition was held over the exam period and we had only 4 days to work on it. Ultimately, we managed to overcome these difficulties through great teamwork and time management.

Stefan: One of the challenges I faced was my own pessimism at how little time we had to complete so many tasks. I communicated it to the team, but contrary to how I felt, both Kenny and Fransiska were optimistic that we would be able to finish our two reports on time. While I was not convinced of their optimism from the get-go, their positive energy certainly did rub off on me as we progressed. I guess this is the benefit of working as a team.

Fransiska: For me, the biggest challenge was also the fact that the duration of this competition overlapped with our term exam. We only had 4 days to finish a report for two case studies and nothing more. At moments like this, I am grateful for Stefan and Kenny, they are the perfect companions to have on the team. We work hard in that short period of time and with our perseverance, we finally did it!


What recommendations do you have for future participants?

Fransiska: Keep a clear head and stay true to the work. Each case study has different characteristics and factors that need to be solved; so treat each case differently and apply logic but keep an open mind to different ideas when looking for solutions.

Stefan: My recommendation would be to assess your trade-offs and take on the challenge. Get out of your comfort zone and take on the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom to further your growth.

Kenny: Take a shot! You’ve got nothing to lose. It is either a lesson to be learnt or an enriching experience to be had.


What are some of your key learning points and takeaways from the competition?

Kenny: I’ve come to appreciate the process of adapting a design mindset in solving the cases given.

Stefan: The major takeaway from this competition for me would be teamwork. We need to be efficient and effective to be able to work on a tight schedule. Furthermore, another essential element would be ‘trust’. We have trust that every member of the team will be able to pull their weight and finish their share of work, as well as help each other in the process. This is an important element not to be overlooked when working in teams.

Fransiska: You never know what you can achieve until you try it.



Learn more about the SMU Master of Science in Management programme and find out how you can be a part of our next intake.