A QUESTION is posed by one of the judges, and without missing a beat, the three presenters on stage took turns answering with enthusiasm and confidence.
The Unilever Future Leaders’ League (FLL) 2018 grand finale saw university students in teams of three, battling it out with impressive ideas and solutions as they vied for first place.
They were given the task of developing a marketing campaign for the much-loved ice cream brand Cornetto, the brand sponsor for this year’s FLL.
From 127 teams across 35 universities nationwide, the top 10 were shortlisted to get the Unilever experience and engage with its leaders in a three-day U Camp that ended with the finale in Nexus, Bangsar in Kualal Lumpur.
Team Orca from Monash University Malaysia was crowned national champion; the three 22-year-olds will head to Unilever’s headquarters in London next year to compete in the global round.
Marketing and communication student Andrea Varsha Rabindran said the FLL was a good experience for them, being able to glean different ideas and perspectives from their peers.
“Plus, the pressure and stress levels in the classroom are quite different compared to this business challenge because you’re thinking about real life scenarios with consequences.
“This type of case study competitions pushes you and allows you to understand real world expectations of what you want to do,” she said.
Ho Zi Hui believes creativity and non-feasible ideas are usually theories discussed in the classroom, whereas case competitions like these forces one up to come up with workable solutions that have to be practical and effective enough for the real world.
“The judges are experts in their fields, and you’ve to come up with feasible ideas which they can trust,” said the Economics and Finance student.
For those who aspire to join competitions like FLL, business analytics and finance student Chan Xin Yi advised them not to limit themselves, and seize opportunity when they see one.
“Also, don’t be discouraged when you lose in competitions. We have lost other competitions before winning this,” she added.
Unilever FLL, which was started in 2015 by Unilever Malaysia, is a business case challenge created for undergraduate students across universities in Malaysia.
The aim was to develop an out-of-classroom curriculum that equips students with the right and much-needed competencies and experiences for the workplace.
This year’s edition emphasised on the digital aspect as well as a hackathon concept, extending its partnership with Google to provide technical mentorship to the participants, on top of mentorship by Unilever’s own marketing team.
The FLL Malaysian edition is an extension of the global FLL effort, a dynamic marketing competition that brings students from over the world together to experience what tomorrow’s leadership is all about.
They will be working with real brands and cases which will allow them to understand a leading business from the inside and boost the skills they need to become future leaders.
Unilever (Malaysia) Holdings Sdn Bhd Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos human resources director Ling Ming Choo said they want to create a live experience for students because they lack the environment of a real business.
The challenge is a short simulation on how it is to be a leader; to be working in teams, through adversity and changes that are presented.
“They get to practice being the owner, founder and entrepreneur, having ownership of a particular brand.
“It talks about how they can grow this brand and if competition surfaces, what to do. If they own a company and brand, these are the real challenges they need to think about,” said Ling.
“Secondly, with the passion to excel, the three-day camp saw them working together as a squad team with no hierarchy and barriers, but just coming together to contribute.
“Last but not least, we injected a digital spin in FLL because the world is moving towards digital. The ideas and presentations we saw were top-notch.
“I would also like to think it’s reverse mentoring because we’re tapping on the digital natives (students) to give us ideas om how to innovate our business,” she said.
Commending the FLL for encouraging students to think creatively about new marketing ideas was Inti International College Subang career services director Naomi Yang Fan.
“It helps our students prepare for their future career because Unilever doesn’t only invite them to compete, but provides training and coaching by the senior management team.
“The students also learnt how to collaborate through teamwork, polish their presentation skills and time management,” she said.
Since the beginning of the challenge, Inti International University & Colleges has sent over 40 students to participate, with its team winning the 2016 challenge to London.