PRINS case competition: And the Winners Are...
Which student consultancy teams presented the winning pitches in the Practising International Studies (PRINS) case competition finals held on 7-8 May at Leiden University’s Den Haag locations?
- Otra Cosa Case: Bringing international social entrepreneurship to Peru
- Rexus Consulting Case: Market expansion for IT career development and transformation
- NN Group Case: The future of labour and human resource strategies
- Partos Case: Reinventing the role of international civil society organisations
- Shell Case: Supporting water trading around the world
While the individual cases and winning teams are listed below, overall every one of the 240 third-year International Studies students who participated was a winner. Certainly each gained a great deal from the transformational 12-week consultancy. Rare for any non-business Bachelor programme, the International Studies students learned a wide range of new and applicable career skills, as well as developing their understanding of the context in which international businesses and NGOs operate. Most importantly they learned the key skill of consultancy: listening to the needs of the client, then digging deeper to find solutions.
And it wasn’t just the International Studies students who felt like winners. The participating organisations were impressed by the pitches, reports and fresh perspectives presented by the consultancy teams during the finals.
Student Consultancies: LA RED, Otra Fuerza, Nuestra Cosa
Winner: LA RED
Description: Student consultancies were asked to solve these key questions: How can Otra Cosa Network identify and attract social entrepreneurs from the (inter)national arena? How to can Otra Cosa Network embed and integrate social entrepreneurship in their volunteer projects? How can Otra Cosa Network facilitate social enterprise?
In pitching advice to Otra Cosa Network (OCN) regarding their main issue - OCN wants to know about the best practices for social entrepreneurship to apply in Peru - the three consultancy teams came up with a variety of solutions. Otra Fuerza presented approaches for embracing and uniting OCN’s double identity as a UK charity organisation/Peruvian social entrepreneurship agency, with “great presentation skills – you should be on TEDx,” said Juany Murphy. Nuestra Cosa presented an approach called ‘ATTACK’: boosting the Accountability, Transparency, Trust, Accessibility, Community and Knowledge delivered by OCN, an approach Juany described as “powerful”. Winner LA RED identified 4 key problems and offered 12 solutions in the stride for social development in Northern Peru. “Good structure, good presentation and above all very good recommendations – LA RED has given practical solutions that OCN we can do with just four people in paid positions,” said Juany.
Student Consultancies: CC4U, Cresco Consulting, 1to3 Consulting
Description: Student consultancies were asked to solve these key questions: Which European countries have the highest potential and should be targeted for the rollout of Rexus’ services and why? What market expansion strategies can be devised taking into account the local contexts, conditions and (inter)national trends? What other countries and world regions are suitable for expansion of the business and services model?
In looking to expand the market for Rexus International’s transformational and career-building IT training and consulting offerings, all three student consultancies necessarily looked at some basic requirements: European countries in which English is spoken at a high level (as the training and consultancy of Rexus International is in English), in which there is sufficient disposable income for such trainings, and in which the IT sector is either in a growth mode or at a point in its lifecyle in which IT professionals will be looking for higher levels of training. Cresco Consulting determined that Denmark was the first port of call for expansion, and presented a social media strategy for attracting professionals to trainings, as well as partnering with local educational institutions (EG University of Copenhagen), an approach Rene Ahuja said he had “overlooked in the past.” Team 1to3 Consulting identified Denmark, Ireland and Germany as target countries, advising Rexus to first enter Denmark (rollout strategy very similar to NL), then moving to Ireland in the medium term and ultimately to Germany. “I liked the fact that you created a clear marketing strategy,” noted Ahuja. Winning team CC4U was chosen for the combination of best research, best pitch and best presentation. “You used commercial methodologies and I think overall your research quality was very good,” concluded Ahuja.
Student Consultancies: InterNexus, Consilium, AdviceGuru, Navigating Networks
Winner: Navigating Networks; NN also chose a runner-up, AdviceGuru.
Description: Student consultancies were asked to solve these key questions: How can and should flexible labour models be implemented in Europe and Japan? What economic, political, and cultural-historical factors will impact NN’s local human resources strategies? Which other countries and world regions provide a fertile climate for flexible labour models and in which timeframe?
In a rapidly-shifting internal environment for NN specifically and for European labour and HR strategies in general, the HR and talent functions at NN are searching for new and mutually-beneficial labour models that take the needs of NN and its pool of talent into consideration. ‘Flexicurity’ – a model in which an organisation assembles a flexible pool of freelancers - was looked at by each of the consultancy groups. InterNexus focused on four different countries of 13 examined – the Netherlands, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Belgium – as places to begin a flexible approach to employment, and Jordy Veth praised their “clear choice of countries and well-constructed report.” Consilium examined two labour schemes – one freelance and one based on ‘secondment’ – and determined that Scandinavia was the most viable market for either scheme, problem being that NN has no presence in that region. “Great that you’ve told us ‘Scandinavia is where you ought to be’,” said Veth. AdviceGuru examined the flexicurity model which works well for Nestle, CSC, and ArcelorMittal, and made recommendations that Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic were potentially successful areas for NN’s rollout of a flexicurity model. “We like your concrete advice and the way you built up your presentation – playfulness is important,” said Veth about the fun and dynamic presentation. Winner Navigating Networks presented a clear and detailed road map towards implementing the NN flexicurity model. “We chose for Navigating Networks’ thorough report and concrete advice,” said Veth, “and we would like to invite them and runner-up AdviceGuru to present at our Global HR and show them the theoretical perspective.”
Student Consultancies: Nil Volentibus Arduum, Voices United, The Conscious Consultants, Bridging ID’s, The Apprentice
Winner: Bridging IDs
Description: Student consultancies were asked to solve these key questions: What are worldwide disruptive forces of international civil society organisations? How can international civil society organisations align their services with local and global developments? What opportunities are there for Partos to reinvent or redefine their role as a branch organisation for its diverse group of member organisations?
In the initial February 2015 case consultancy launch event for the PRINS, Bart Romijn, Partos Director, had identified no fewer than 17 trends that the organisation felt it had to address to help Partos and its international member organisations (115 of them, focused on sustainable development) be more effective. With such a wide variety of trends that affect or threaten branch organisations, consultancies chose to focus on specific trends – and often their advice aligned, with an overall message for Partos that came down to communications/social media to create a more recognizable ‘brand’ and to keep its many member organisations ‘on the same page’ and functioning more effectively together.Nil Volentibus Arduum presented a social media strategy for Partos that Bart Romijn praised for being “comprehensive. And I like that NVA understands the nature of being a branch organisation,” he continued. Voices United focused on benchmarking for branch organisations and suggested the application of ISO certification for all member organisations, presenting “a very useful methodology for Partos and an interesting network approach,” said Romijn, who highlighted the “dynamic presentation and very original ‘ambassador’ scheme,” presented by The Conscious Consultants. The Apprentice focused on updating Partos’s business model across three areas – Business, Finance, and Media – and emphasised the need for the organisation to really ‘POP!’ with visibility by loudly uncorking a confetti-filled champagne bottle, a bold approach that Romijn described as “a great, stand-out presentation and a very useful marketing campaign.” Winner Bridging IDs was chosen for its advice for bridging international development (the ‘ID’ in the consultancy name) which included an updated, easy-to-navigate website where all member organisations can list their projects. Romijn said that Bridging ID’s relevant case studies and concrete advice were its winning hand. “We’d like to invite you to come to Amsterdam and present for our team,” he told Bridging ID’s.
Student Consultancies: H2GO, Poseidon, Meander, Conch Shell, ShellStream
Winner: Poseidon Consultancy
Description: Student consultancies were asked to solve these key questions: Given the insights from water trading in Australia, how can and should water trading be introduced in other world regions and countries and in which timeframe? What social, economic, political, cultural-historical forces should be taken into account when implementing water trading in those areas? What are the specific recommendations for the successful implementation of water trading in these areas?
“I am really astonished by the work you’ve produced over the last three months,” said Maike Boggemann during her assessment of the final pitches. “You’ve managed to address so many variables in water issues, and this is clear in the frameworks you have created.”
Team H2Go presented a detailed model in which social equity, justice and fairness are part of the water market equation for all stakeholders, an approach that Boggemann described as “really strong, particularly that you identified many critical factors.” Meander developed an heuristic tool to assess if a water market is viable in a particular area, focusing on the Nevada River Basin in the US, “a hotspot in the water discussion today,” said Boggemann. She noted the jury had appreciated Conch Shell Consultancy’s “very critical approach and advice not to go full speed to create a water market,” and pointed out the research breadth and relevance of the ShellStream report. “Because of the broad research I found it great you had created an extract in your report,” she said. Winning consultancy Poseidon was chosen because of the “really structured and detailed framework, and very clear sources of information you used to assess various factors,” she said of their model, which focused on the Jaguaribe River Basin in Brazil. The work of the student consultancies will be shared with Shell’s networks; and one of the Directors of the Executive Board would like the consultancies to share their work in person. “This is an extremely complex topic and you’ve done a great deal,” she concluded.