Posted on December 29, 2012

Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) students, Vincent van Houten, Eilin Francis and William YangUn Cha took part in the first ever Enterprise Challenge competition, held in Qatar recently. The team were awarded third place in the competition designed to develop and encourage entrepreneurial skills among students.

The three SFS-Q students participated in the inaugural Qatar competition with 14 teams from Qatar University and Texas A&M University Qatar, and were proud to receive third place for their efforts.

Van Houten commented on the competition process, “It took the format of a business simulation computer program, which translated choices and decisions in a set scenario into realistic outcomes. The program runs through three consecutive years of conducting business and the aim is to maximize profits by making the right choices such as pricing, product type and quality, distribution channels, marketing budgets and so forth. The simulation is constantly adjusting all these inputs in a changing market environment as well as reacting to competitors, and this made it very realistic and engaging.”

The team agreed on a strategy of selling high-end mp3 players through a direct sales channel, while constantly fine-tuning their pricing and marketing budget by using a self-constructed gross margin elasticity excel sheet.

Van Houten spoke about the approach they developed which helped them take third place in the competition, “Practice was the key to winning the game. Enough practice allows you to understand the program algorithms and therefore optimize the strategy accordingly. Although it is all based on business rationale, the best results are obtained by running and recording endless trial-and-error games.”

His two teammates went onto discuss what they took away from the experience. YangUn Cha said, “Materials covered in economics courses that I thought seemed too theoretical were in fact applicable throughout the competition. It was a good learning exercise in sharpening your economics acumen and I recommend it to any future International Economics major candidates.”

“I thought the event was an excellent opportunity for me to participate in Qatar's celebration of Global Entrepreneurship week. The simulation was very realistic and provided insight into the dynamics of entrepreneurial decision-making” concluded Francis.