Bringing Innovative Thinking to the Financial Arena

WHU MBA students take first place in international competition.

Driven by entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, and strategic vision, WHU MBA students are not only leaders of innovative thinking on campus in Düsseldorf, but also take their passion and talent to international competitions. On April 11 and 12, four Full-Time and Part-Time MBA students entered the ‘Innovating in Finance’ competition held in Zürich, Switzerland, hosted by the University of St. Gallen, digitalswitzerland, and Fintech company SIX.

With twelve teams competing from top European business schools including HEC (France), ESADE (Spain), Cambridge Judge (UK) and Mannheim (Germany). The competition pitted students against each other using their analytical and entrepreneurial skills to solve a real-life business model case study for a revolutionary end-to-end SIX Digital Exchange, currently undergoing development in Switzerland. Students have the opportunity to win a cash prize of CHF 5000, but also the chance to expand their professional network by interacting with other MBA students, judges from financial heavyweights such as Microsoft and PWC, and top names from the Swiss financial sector.

Due to their exceptional ‘out of the box’ solution to this case study, the WHU MBA team took first prize and impressed the panel of industry professionals so much, that they have been invited to present their final solution to the board to SIX Financial Services again in May. Selected for the team due to their diversity of backgrounds and professional experience, the WHU team hails from a variety of vocations including finance, sales, business development, banking, and technology.

Initially developed in 2018, the SIX Digital Exchange aims to allow the fully regulated trading of digital assets. The case study posed the question to the students as to how this new global exchange will affect business models. Each team submitted their business model and presentation by email, presented their solutions in heats to a panel in Zürich, while defending their solutions during an intense Q&A session. Each winning team from each heat was then asked to solve and present an additional case study.

“Throughout the competition, the team spirit was incredibly positive and everyone had the same level of attitude and energy towards the competition,” says Full-Time MBA student and team member, Joshua Bakare. “By leveraging on the diversity of our team, we were able to understand in detail every aspect of the case, apply our teamwork experience, and the collective knowledge gained from our MBA studies.” Fellow WHU participant and Full-Time MBA student Akshay Sharma adds, "when you are under intense pressure but still manage to laugh within the team and remain confident, that's when you know you have won already."