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Odfjell is the case study company for this year's NHH International Case Competition

At noon today, Odfjell was revealed as the case study company for the 2022 NHH ICC, as the first shipping company to be featured. The 12 international university teams will put their talents to work on a challenge we face on a daily basis in our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint.

12 teams – 48 students – 24 hours – 1 case

The student-run competition brings together undergraduates from 12 universities around the world to connect, solve a real-life business problem within 24 hours, and then present their solutions as a business plan to a jury of Odfjell, academia, and business representatives. After a round of semifinals, the winner will be announced by CEO Harald Fotland on Friday, October 7.

Teams of four from the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Melbourne, the University of California's Berkeley Haas School of Business, the University of Alberta, Cal Poly Pomona, the University of South Carolina, Copenhagen Business School, Norwegian School of Economics, Babeș-Bolyai University, Aarhus University, the University of Budapest and Glasgow University's Adam Smith business school on a fjord cruise leading up to the competition. Photo by NHHICC.

As case company for the competition hosted by the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), Odfjell joins a distinguished list that includes Norwegian corporate giants Equinor and DNB.

“We wanted to have a company that represented Norway and Bergen in a great way. With a shipping company and especially Odfjell, considering the problems that we see in the world right now in terms of energy, sustainability, and environmental concerns, I think we were able to create a case that was very relevant to what we wanted to present to the teams that come here,” says Tobias Skjelbred Svendsen, the third-year business undergraduate at the head of the ten-person student organizing committee.

A unique opportunity to gain new perspectives

While the participating students get to apply their classroom knowledge to a real-world problem, Odfjell has an exclusive opportunity to gain new perspectives and possible solutions.

“It’s a great opportunity for Odfjell to get a more qualitative external review on where we are on decarbonization and sustainability. We have a unique opportunity to get input from 12 different universities from all over the world from the younger generation. I have high hopes for the responses that we will get,” says CEO Harald Fotland.

As for the students, this is also an opportunity to learn and gain experience: “I think I've learned much more in just the few competitions I've been practicing for and performing in than I have been doing in any class I've had,” adds Tobias.

Odfjell and Sustainability: a case study

The case study challenges the student teams to develop a comprehensive business plan that supports Odfjell's core values and leadership position in decarbonization from one of four perspectives (or a combination of them): customer, consumer, digital, or financial.

“The twin transition of digitalization and decarbonization, but also finding solutions to tackle climate change and nature degradation; these are new problems, and we will not be able to solve these new problems with our old solutions. That's why we need to look at how we can attract talents that think differently to help us solve new problems,” says Chief Sustainability Officer Øistein Jensen.

The CSO and CEO will both serve as judges during the competition, which they expect will be a difficult assignment when faced with such brilliant young minds.

“As you get more experienced or older, and working within the business, you tend to narrow things down a little bit too much. I'm preparing to be as open-minded as possible,” says Øistein, who will be part of the jury that picks the three teams advancing through to the final round.

“I think it has to be creative, achievable and bring new perspectives to the way we judge our work,” says Harald on what he’s looking out for from the winner on Friday.

Odfjell is looking forward to not just learning from the winning team’s proposal but all 12 case solutions being presented this week. As CSO Øistein aptly puts it:

“We cannot solve future problems with yesterday's solutions. That's why we encourage new ways of thinking and diversity of thought. In this case, when you get young students coming in from many different cultures, it really brings in something new to the table.”

The final presentations are also open to the public at NHH’s Aula this Friday, October 7 from 12 pm. Alternatively, a live stream will be available on our website. At our stand on-site, we hope to meet students who could become our future shipping trainees. Interested applicants can reach out here.

Written by Zayana Zulkiflee

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