A team of students studying for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) clinched first place in the CEIBS-Beijing Benz INNOVATEChina 2013 Entrepreneurship Challenge for its business plan to commercialize HKUST technologies, beating contestants from the Columbia University Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), University of California at Berkeley, Tsinghua University and others. Immediately after the victory, the team was capped with another honor at the University of Oregon's New Venture Championship, where it took the Best Trade Show Award.
As a world-class University, HKUST has championed technology transfer and entrepreneurship since its inception, with the aim of raising the competitiveness of industry and assisting in the social and economic development. Forming a team named Solaris, three full-time MBA students Clement Dieudonne, Nicky Loh and Simon Zhu took these important international awards with a seamless blend of HKUST-developed technologies and professional knowledge. Their winnings not only testified to their excellent capabilities, but also affirmed the outstanding quality of the business education provided by HKUST and its world-leading research accomplishments.
The members of Solaris combined their professional knowledge acquired at HKUST with hands-on experiences in their respective fields of engineering, finance and project management. Working in tandem with the research team led by Prof Zhiyong Fan of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, the team aspired to turn the former's newly-invented nanostructured solar cells into a thriving enterprise.
There has been growing concern around the globe over hygiene and the development of renewable energy technologies. Although solar photovoltaic technology is considered one of the most important clean energy technologies, it incurs high costs of energy conversion and suffers relatively low efficiency. To address this problem, Prof Zhiyong Fan and his research team developed a new type of flexible nanostructures for efficient thin film solar cells, which can significantly improve energy conversion efficiency and lead to the manufacturing of solar panels that are lighter, more efficient, flexible and versatile. The invention can supply power for portable electronic devices and generate electricity for large-scale photovoltaic plants, lowering over 65% of costs.
Tapping the world's tremendous demands for and commercial potentials of renewable energy, Solaris advocated Prof Fan's cutting-edge technology and launched it with a number of strategic maneuvers, such as target market identification, prudent finance and investment managements, which allowed the enterprise to take off with high dividends and low volatility, harvesting growth and high profits in a short time. This, ultimately, contributed to an extensive utilization of solar energy in society.
Professor Leonard Cheng, Dean of HKUST Business School, was impressed by the creativity, quality of work and global vision that the team had demonstrated. He said, "HKUST MBA program places a strong emphasis on helping students to develop global perspectives and networks, and takes an inspirational approach to teaching and learning. We not only encourage our students to participate in international business competitions, but also support them with training, which includes an elective course in business plan competition."
"International competitions such as these allow our students to put their professional knowledge and management skills into practice while stimulating new thinking by offering a platform where students can interact with their peers from leading business schools around the world. This kind of experience will help enhance their competitiveness in the global business environment and open up new opportunities in the future," he added.
About MBA at HKUST
In 2013, the MBA program at HKUST was ranked number one in Asia and number eight worldwide in The Global MBA Ranking. In the sub-ranking 'International course experience rank' the program came fourth, attesting to its commitment and strength in providing an international learning environment. The MBA program has been among world's top 10 for four straight years.
About CEIBS-Beijing Benz INNOVATEChina 2013 Entrepreneurship Challenge (INNOVATEChina)
Established in 2008, INNOVATEChina is a global business competition hosted by CEIBS. Now in its sixth year, it has newly introduced a business plan pitch section and made Innovation and Social Impact' the major theme, which demonstrates its concern with corporate responsibility and contribution to humanity, environment and societal development, as well as its accomplishments in growth, innovation, green awareness and public image. Not only were this year's finalists required to demonstrate business creativity, they also needed to be seriously committed to corporate social responsibility.
About the University of Oregon's New Venture Championship
The New Venture Championship is considered one of the world's most preeminent investment plan competitions. Drawn participants from world's top-notch universities for more than 20 years, it intends to develop skilled and knowledgeable entrepreneurial leaders who will successfully confront the ever-changing business environment with creative and innovative solutions. The Championship also provides a unique opportunity for new, independent ventures, in the seed, start-up or early growth stages to accelerate their launch processes. Panels of judges consist of entrepreneurial business leaders, angel investors and venture fund executives. In each section, venture teams have to present and defend their business plans before the judges in different circumstances, to which in-depth, invaluable feedback will be given, which in turn helps them acquire information and relationships that will move their ventures down the launch pathway.
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