Odfjell was announced this week as the 2022 NHHICC case study company – the first shipping company to be included. 48 students from 12 different schools from Denmark and Hungary to Australia and Canada, in teams of four, collaborated in just 24 hours to create a business plan for a real-world business challenge for the company in this student-run competition.
Tonight, after a close race in the final, it was announced that the team from the Corvinus University of Budapest was awarded first place.
"One of the main takeaways was that they gave us ideas for how we could expand on and further develop ESG initiatives we have in place and gear them for growth and collaboration," says Siri Sundal Shield, Senior Ship Broker at Odfjell, who was a finalist judge.
"The winning team's operational solutions connected better to the global problem. It was not just a solution for Odfjell, but something that could expand to the global climate action," added Gabriel Fuentes, another judge on the panel and a current Research Scholar at the Business and Management Science Department of the Norwegian School of Economics, sharing that there was but a single vote's difference to call the winner.
From 12 to one
From the starting pit of 12 nervous teams on Wednesday morning and through an intense marathon leg of 24 hours of case-solving, a panel of professionals and professors selected the top three teams yesterday. Today, the finalists presented their ideas to a new jury:
- Gabriel Fuentes, Research Scholar at the Business and Management Science Department, Norwegian School of Economics
- Thomas Grieg, Investment Director, Grieg Investment Capital
- Torleif Madsen, alum at NHH and CEO, Compact Carbon Capture AS
- Harald Fotland, CEO, Odfjell
- Bjørn Hammer, Global Head of Tanker Trading, Odfjell
- Siri Sundal Shield, Senior Ship Broker, Odfjell
Before sitting down at the jury table, Harald expressed his gratitude to the 12 attending teams:
“I would like to extend a big thank you! to all the teams who have taken part in this challenging competition. We are deeply impressed by the competence level, creativity and industry knowledge they all showcased. We now have a broad range of new perspectives and ideas that we will bring back to the drawing board. It is very possible that several of the solutions we’ve been presented these last couple of days will come to life in our commercial operations.”
Many showed up to hear presentations from the three university teams that had made it to the final round: the Norwegian School of Economics, the Corvinus University of Budapest, and the University of Alberta, Canada. A large percentage were interested first-year students learning about Odfjell for the first time.
To kick off the presentations on their home ground, the Norwegian School of Economics presented a solution focused on a green chain platform that will analyze shipping emissions and financial opportunities for customers.
"Odfjell's started way ahead of the curve. The foresight that Odfjell has had is one of the company's key assets," the team shared afterwards on one of their biggest takeaways from the process, as they excitedly waited for the results.
Corvinus University of Budapest, meanwhile, proposed a two-pronged approach: applying an eco-label to raise awareness of sustainable shipping among end-consumers and optimizing vessel arrival to reduce transportation costs and provide competitive pricing for its customers.
The University of Alberta’s presentation covered a three-phased approach, including a sustainability screening as part of a customer targeting strategy, special dividend payouts and a sexy pitchbook tailored to each customer.
In the end, the Corvinus team impressed the judges the most.
"We can't believe it. We are really excited and happy," said Noémi Kopka from the group, who is exhilarated to have won in her first-ever international case competition.
In his speech to crown the winning team based on their proposal's relevance, academic strength, creativity and innovativeness, CEO Harald Fotland said:
"My biggest takeaway is that we can rest assured that these schools will produce brilliant heads to the industry going forward."