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A team of MBA students wins a digital entrepreneurship competition

Young Entrepreneurs Competition

March 5, 2019

Rama Al-Rashid, Simarpal Singh Randhawa, Shweta Dubey and Asif Ansari.

A team of HEC Montréal MBA students won the latest edition of the Young Entrepreneurs Competition, held in Toronto during the Young Entrepreneurs Conference (YEC), on February 23, 2019.

Team members Simarpal Singh Randhawa, Rama Al-Rashid, Shweta Dubey and Asif Ansari took home a $1,000 cash prize.

Go Digital was the theme for this year’s event. Participants had to solve a case involving the Airbnb accommodation website. The company is facing expansion problems in China, where it has not been as successful as elsewhere around the globe.

Well prepared to make it into the finals

The first stage of the competition required teams to write a detailed report outlining their strategy for the Airbnb case. To help them prepare, the HEC Montréal team members relied not only on their own knowledge, but also sought the personal and cultural experience of some of their Chinese classmates.  

The HEC Montréal competitors’ report was then chosen for the second stage, where they had to present it in Toronto to a jury of industry professionals.

According to Simarpal Singh Randhawa, their team won by combining their professional and interpersonal skills. He says that all four had prior experience or a marked interest in the digital industry.

A strategy adapted to the Chinese market

The HEC Montréal team’s strategy was based on the following recommendations:

  • promote Airbnb as a secure and trusted platform;
  • enhance the user experience;
  • make it a more local brand by adopting a more appropriate name and a marketing campaign better adapted to the Chinese community.

A networking opportunity for young professionals

This was the seventh edition of the YEC. The conference is intended to give young professionals an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about business, technology and entrepreneurship.


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