The Karachi School of Business & Leadership (KSBL) hosted its flagship, annual three-day Harvard business case study, and simulation competition called SiMERGE on the 2nd of April till the 4th of April. While SiMERGE has traditionally only been open for students, this year, SiMERGE extended the competition towards corporate professionals too. Owing to the pandemic, the competition was held online using HOPIN and was also simultaneously streamed on Facebook.
SiMERGE is designed to help participants sharpen their business acumen and analytic decision-making skills, covering various areas including marketing, finance, business analytics, strategy, and HR.
The competition includes speaker sessions and a series of rounds that involve solving Harvard business case studies and business simulations along with the final business idea, Engro Technopreneur Challenge. The Technopreneur Challenge required teams to pitch their business ideas on either the energy or fintech industry. Participants were required to send in their reports and presentations for the Technopreneur Challenge in advance of the event, they will be asked to pitch their ideas in front of esteemed industry leaders on the final day of SiMERGE.
According to Mubashar Hameed, Rector of KSBL and CEO of Karachi Education Initiative (KEI), “SiMERGE is a competition that is truly unlike any other! This three-day intensive program is designed to give young students the chance to make real-life business decisions using their analytical competencies. This year our students have revamped the competition to go online…. this is exactly what KSBL stands for – promoting business acumen and leveraging technology to create better leaders for tomorrow.”
As part of the competition, KSBL invited teams from all over the country. There were 17 teams in total, each comprising of 4-5 members.
The student teams were from the following universities:
- Salim Habib University
- Bahria University
- Sukkur IBA
Corporate teams were from Fauji Fertilizer.
The cases and simulations were briefed by KSBL’s distinguished faculty Dr. Jawaid A. Ghani (Professor, Strategy & Marketing Research), Dr. Muhammad Nadeem Javaid (Professor, Strategy & Economics), Dr. Muhammad Athar Siddiqui (Associate Professor, Organizational behavior & HR), Dr. Ahmad Junaid (Associate Professor, Finance & Accounting), Dr. Shazib E. Shaikh (Associate Professor of Decision Sciences at KSBL and Head of Department, Decision Sciences)
Dr. Shazib E. Shaikh (Associate Professor of Decision Sciences at KSBL and Head of Department, Decision Sciences, commented on the inclusion of an Analytics case this year, “By featuring an analytics case this year, SiMERGE is highlighting how important it is for tomorrow’s managers to independently explore how far technology can stretch. The whole gamut of advanced analytics is laid out in this Procter & Gamble story; and now the manager has to decide: should I believe? When left to the courage of our convictions, ‘tis wisdoms well-debated that seldom betray.”
SiMERGE’s speaker sessions included a line-up of highly renowned industry professionals:
- ATYAB TAHIR (Country Head, Mastercard): “Unlocking Opportunities through Digital Payments in Pakistan”
- SHOAIB KHALIL (Head of Channel and Business Development, Microsoft Pakistan): “Platforms and Ecosystems: Enabling the Digital Economy”
- JAVAID IQBAL (CEO, Transform X): “Digital Disruption in Supply Chain”
- SABA ABID (General Manager, Airlift Technologies): “Responding to Change Through Agility”
- EHSAN SAYA (Managing Director, Daraz Pakistan): “Impact of CoVid-19 on how Pakistani Consumers Shop”
- MIDHAT FATIMA (Director, TEXT): “Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship”
- SALMAN CHAUDHARY (CEO, EmpiricAI)
- GHIAS KHAN (President & CEO, Engro Corp): “Reskilling the Workforce in the Digital Economy”
As part of event promotions, SiMERGE inducted campus ambassadors from each university. Participants found the experience to be incredibly valuable. According to Sonia Imam (IoBM), “As an ambassador at SiMERGE, I learned from the exuberance of the entire crew, and even as a participant I got a chance to inculcate different qualities from the amiability and cooperative behavior of the team. Working on the report and presentation itself has been a very good experience. Although, it has been a challenging journey, an extremely constructive one.”
Winning teams of SiMERGE will be awarded cash prizes, the winning team takes home Rs. 125, 000, first runner up Rs. 100,000, second runner-up wins Rs. 75,000. All participants also received gifts, merchandise, and vouchers.