MayBank GO Ahead Challenge

By: Ms. Tang Sreyneang

“If you can dream of it, you can do it.”

This inspiring quote has always pushed me forward to achieve my dreams. Everyone has dreams, but whether they can achieve them or not, is a matter of commitment.

Like all students out there, we can graduate with a degree by just simply completing all the required courses, yet most of us want more achievements to make our academic life a remarkable one. That ambition gives us the courage to participate in many available competitions, in order to test our own capabilities, and also stand a chance for victory. The reward, not only the prize, is priceless, as those experiences can be life-changing.

As a Business Management student in the College of Management, I have always seized the opportunity to apply for any business-related competition available, as I believe opportunity comes only to those who chase it. I had applied for many competitions, and I failed, yet I never gave up. Relentlessly, I kept looking for more opportunities until I learnt about the Maybank GO Ahead Challenge (MGAC 2014) on my university campus at the Maybank MGAC Road Show. With my passion to explore how much I could do, I applied for this challenge by sending in my application online through the website of MGAC 2014. Finally, I was chosen to be one of the participants, as a member of Team Avengers, the second-runner up team in the Maybank GO Ahead Challenge 2014.

In my experience, this competition was truly tough and challenging. It was a series of thrilling challenges that tested your passion, knowledge and endurance to unleash your true potential. At each level the challenges became tougher and harder. Likewise, the preliminary selection was based on two online tests – verbal and mathematic analytical tests. It was hard because both tests not only tested our competency in logical thinking, but also our ability to work under time constraints. We had to complete 30 questions in 10 minutes, both comprehensive reading and analytical skills were required.

Things started to get more exciting when I received a phone call one day, and was informed that I was shortlisted as a potential candidate for the national level. I was quite shocked, as I didn’t expect this,

but also happy for being selected. So, that was the start of the second challenge – the interview. I was asked several questions related to logical thinking; for instance, how many chairs are there in the Canadia Tower? I thought that was strange question, but all I could do was to give a reasonable answer with a detailed explanation.

The next day, I got an email stating that I was selected to be a national level candidate among 20 other candidates. I almost couldn’t believe myself for making it to this level, and that inspired me a lot, but at the same time I also felt a lot of pressure. I prepared myself by watching the previous competitions on YouTube to get a better picture about the national level of this competition. Unlike other competitions which all candidates are well-informed about what they are supposed to do, MGAC is a complete mystery, and full of unexpected challenges. All we could do is to bring all our confidence, and stay alert the entire time. The national level competition was held at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra on June 24th, 2014, and lasted the entire day.

All of us, the candidates, were required to go through many challenges including the games of word scratches and chess mess, answering logical thinking questions, building sample products and presentations, bidding for products, writing business proposals, preparing exit strategies, and solving business cases. All these challenges required the ability to think logically, to solve problems, and to work under time constraints. Prior to announcing the winners, the assessors gave constructive feedback to each candidate. I noticed how manner and personality played a major role in deciding the winner. Thus, for all who want to join this competition, remember “manners do count”. At the end of the competition, it was an extreme pleasure for me as I was announced as one of the three winners from this national level competition, representing Cambodia in the grand final which would be held in Malaysia.

The end of the national level competition marked the start of another bigger and bolder challenge, the grand final which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from the 11th to 16th of August. Throughout my one-week experience in the grand final of this competition, I would say it was a unique business case competition, which is more than just a competition. Unlike other business competitions, which mostly deal with creating a business plan, MGAC

consisted of many unexpected challenges ranging from running, problem solving, planning, strategizing, executing the plan, and of course, participating in corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Having gone through this unique competition, we experienced hardships and happiness at the same time. Having practically no sleep for the whole week, running throughout the city all day, working out of our comfort zone, solving many cases under time constraints, presenting our plans to top and senior bankers, budgeting, strategizing, selling products, building houses for indigenous people, cooking for and feeding homeless people, and the many other activities that happened during this MGAC2014 competition. Each team worked cooperatively and did their best, including my team, The Avengers. We all worked hard together through thick and thin with very little and constructive arguments, and finally, we were announced as the second-runner up team with the prize of USD 10,000 cash at the Gala Dinner held on August 16th, 2014. We were absolutely overjoyed that we were able to prove what we are made of, and have all our efforts finally pay off.
Personally, having the chance to experience this competition, I have earned a lot of priceless experience. I experienced how to work in a team, how to solve problems in a team, how to apply theories to reality, how to deal with time constraints, how to build strategies, how to implement plans, how to deal with unexpected things, and most importantly, how to give back to society. In addition, I have also been offered a fast pass to join the Global Maybank Apprentice Program (GMAP), a management trainee program, which will also benefit my future career development. To me, this one week challenge was really a life-changing experience, and allowed me to finally realize one of my dreams.

To win any competition, I believe specialized skills are crucial, yet what is more important is behavior and personality. Not only that, effective communication is also necessary for a teamwork competition like MGAC. The College of Management at the University of Cambodia is where I built and developed the foundation of these essential skills. Getting involved in the academic curriculum, participating in workshops and seminars, networking, learning and sharing with other talented people, and many other activities inside and outside the campus improved my abilities, and helped to shape me into the person I am today.

This doesn’t mark the end of my achievements; in fact, it is just the beginning. As soon as I arrived back from Malaysia on August 17th, 2014, I flew to the Republic of Korea at 11:00pm the same day to pursue my one semester exchange study at SolBridge International School of Business in Daejeon;