CIOB reveals winners of Global Student Challenge
A team from Toronto has won the fifth annual Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Global Student Challenge competition, facing a fiercely competitive international field. The Stalwart Construction Group, as they named themselves, from George Brown College, are the first Canadian team to make the finals. They collected their award from CIOB President Chris Soffe at his Inaugural Dinner, in one of his first official acts as President earlier this month.
The winning team receives £2000 in prize money, along with access to a unique mentoring programme, with industry leaders offering advice and guidance to support their professional development.
The final this year saw a number of familiar faces. Breaking the streak of Glasgow Caledonian University, after three victories in a row, the UK contingent still put on a good show. A RMIT team, Trojan Corporation, finished in second. The team from Loughborough University came third, placing strongly in the final for the second year in a row.
The other finalists were Sense4 from Chongqing University (China), Profiteer Projects from Curtin University (Australia) and Cambridge University Revolutionary Building (UK).
The CIOB’s annual Global Student Challenge, which is open to full time students, is a real test of construction industry know-how, taking place in stages over a number of months. The competition provides a realistic simulation where teams, made up of three or four people, act as a Board of Directors running their own company.
There’s a “Foundation Years” stage which takes place five months before the finals. This is where you learn how to play the game, running a virtual construction company in a simulated environment using the MERIT software*, testing out different strategies and refining tactics for the competitive game.
The “Early Years” stage starts a few weeks later and teams play competitively with other teams across the globe, making decisions that influence the success of their companies.
More than 60 teams from universities all over the world entered the 2018 competition, with the six teams scoring the most in the early rounds being invited to the finals in Toronto as part of the CIOB’s annual Member’s Forum.
Mike Lino, one of the three winners as part of the Stalwart Construction Group team, said:"The GSC tests the participants in many ways; it isn't just a matter of who has the best excel sheets. It comes down to planning, how the teams work together under pressure and which teams can best mitigate their errors - because errors are inevitable. Our approach consisted of three main methods. Our first method was to mitigate group decisions by creating matrices ahead of time.
Our second method was to not only divide the work but to also know how to do each others work. This meant everyone could look over one another's work quickly and find errors, as well as help each other if they are falling behind on time. Our last method was simple but effective. Trust. We trust each other entirely to make split second decisions on our own and to bring up issues that require a group decision.
Despite our planning, we still had decisions that required the group's collaboration. These moments require everyone to vocalize the issues and possible solutions effectively and efficiently so a quick decision can be made."
Chris Soffe, President of the CIOB, said: “The CIOB’s Global Student Challenge is all about pushing the strategic, financial and management skills of construction students to the limit. I have to say that this years’ finalists more than met the challenges presented to them and impressed me greatly with their talent and commitment, as this is not a process for the faint hearted. It’s an excellent sign that the future of construction industry management is in good hands.
I’m also pleased to hear that all three members of the winning team, the Stalwart Construction Group, have already secured employment in the field, with contracting and construction companies. I wish them all the very best as they take on the future in this exciting industry”.
Entry for the 2019 challenge will open later this year. To find out more about Global Student Challenge, click here: http://gsc.ciob.org
* Teams compete at running a virtual construction company in a simulated environment using the MERIT software. Developed at Loughborough University, this software has been used to train young professionals since 1988 as part of in-course modules in degree programmes. It enables students to develop business management skills, requiring them to take decisions on staffing levels, estimating and bidding, managing cash flow and capital and seeking investment opportunities.
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