NUS MBA 30 January 2020

It’s about the journey and not the destination

In cancer treatment research, theranostics is a field of medicine that is highly personalised to target specific receptors of cancer tumours and drug dosages. The business of theranostics requires a targeted approach too. In the 3rd Alira Health SDA Bocconi Healthcare Case Competition, teams have to present the best solution for a company that wants to break into the theranostics field.

The competition, held in Milan in November 2019, was organised by global advisory firm Alira Health and the SDA Bocconi School of Management. About 50 teams signed up, with 10 finalist teams invited for the final round of presentation.

While the two NUS MBA teams made it into the top 10, they did not win the top three positions.  However, for the team, being part of the competition was in itself a transformative experience.

Team OKDAJ and Team D’Candy reflect upon their journeys with Outside-In.

(From left) Team OKDAJ, consisting of Chen Ye (Andy), Chang Che-Wei (Kurt), Han Jinglin, Zhou Yunchong (Daniel), Chen Ho-An (Owen).

Team OKDAJ: European markets have their own individuality

In the competition, we did a structured industry and company analysis to help the client figure out which theranostics company to acquire. Then we conducted a financial analysis and established the digital marketing strategy plan.

Although we did not have much healthcare experience, we leveraged our strengths in data analytics to develop a data-driven solution that was evidence-based.

Time, unfortunately, was not on our side. We exceeded the given time for the presentation. This created some anxiety, and we did not answer the questions as well as we could have during the Q&A session. Finally, our presentation was packed with details but lacked an emotional appeal, which we found out later that this was important to the European judges. We could also have described the medical terms more simply.

But we have learned so much.. Whenever we did macro market analysis, we used to regard Europe as a whole. However, there are many differences within European countries, especially in healthcare because these countries still keep their own independent public welfare and healthcare systems. The competition had definitely broadened our perspectives of the region.

Finally, we would like to thank our senior Carlton Wu, a former President of our Healthcare Club. Carlton joined the second edition of the competition and gave us sound advice. We are thankful to Ms Kho, an intelligence analyst working for the library, who helped us during the research stage. We are also grateful to the Graduate Studies Office, who helped us with the applications for financial support and travel visas. We would like to pay it forward and are happy to share our experience with juniors participating in this competition in future.

(From left) Team D’Candy, consisting of Yeow Jian Sheng, Ng Wei Ching (Angie), Nurul Dinie Bte Rahadi, Dinda Dwita Puspasari and Christopher Schmitt.

Team D’Candy: Numbers form the fulcrum of every valuation decision

Unlike the other finalists, our team adopted the unique strategy of recommending a licensing agreement with our shortlisted theranostics company instead of acquiring it. We were also the only team that stressed the importance of growing the client’s domestic markets.

With 15 min for presentation time, we decided that only three members would present to minimise disruption while the remaining two would assist in the Q&A segment. However, we were penalised for this as the rules stated that all members would need to present. We could have done better to ensure that our request to have fewer members present was communicated properly and approved by all parties.

The judges also felt that our financial analysis lacked detail. Whilst we touched on bypassing the usual acquisition route for a licensing agreement, we did not show any calculations to support our recommendation. This was a good point from the judges. After all, numbers form the fulcrum of every valuation decision!

Looking back, coming from a mixed team of full-time and part-time MBA students was the first challenge that we needed to overcome. The members had to balance tight schedules, work trips, exams and assignments with the demands of the competition. Additionally, in spite of our different backgrounds and working styles, we managed to leverage on our strengths and differences to tackle a challenging topic in an unfamiliar industry Despite the hurdles we faced throughout our journey, we are glad to have made it this far as a team. The best reward that we have gotten from this experience was getting to know one another better; making new friends and connections.