25 Jan.

MBA students of The University of Manchester put what have been learnt into practice for the society & charity

With the objective of contributing to society with the professional knowledge learnt from the MBA programme, a team from The University of Manchester was so successful in their fund-raising efforts that they won the top three awards in The MBA Challenge for Operation Santa Claus.


More than just an ethics framework that encourages corporations to act in accordance with the interests of the community, the concept of social responsibility can be extended and applied to individuals. With a sincere hope to pay back the community, students from The University of Manchester joined The MBA Challenge for Operation Santa Claus (OSC) to raise funds for the underprivileged.


Triumph for the needy

The fourth OSC is one of the largest annual fundraising campaigns in the city. It aims to encourage Hong Kong’s best young business brains to raise funds for charity through various channels, including online crowd-funding on the internet platform Fringebacker.


The Ginger Heart team from The University of Manchester emerged with flying colours, raising HK$280,000 – a sum more than any of their friendly rivals from other top business local schools, such as HKUST, offering MBA programmes – for the needy in the community. In the process, the team won all the top three honours of the “Top Fundraiser Award”, the “Fringebacker Outstanding Online Fundraiser Award” and the “Best Santa in Community Contribution”.


Applying professional knowledge learnt

The Ginger Heart team came up with a plan that addressed the brand-building needs of the donating companies, as well as strategies to attract donations from the public at large. Making use of the practical knowledge and lobbying skills they learnt from the MBA programme, the team managed to rally the support from numerous brands and made up Christmas gift packages which contained baked goods, luxury toiletries and shopping mall vouchers.


To maximize funds within limited time, the team applied the “Manchester method” learnt in their MBA. This meant utilising the specific strengths of each team member, and putting into practice theories and principles of business. Starting from scratch, the team also found it important to consider factors like time management, collaboration and communication, so as to better balance work, ongoing studies and their various fundraising initiatives. 


“We found it very useful to apply what we have learnt in our Global MBA programme to map our sales and marketing strategies needed to do well in the competition,” said Janny Shum, team leader of Ginger Heart, as she shared their fund raising experience.


The team found the online crowd-funding scheme particularly intense as they kept a close watch over their opponents. “We were thrilled to be able to apply game theory to the contest,” said Shum. “We anticipated some furious movements on the ‘Fringebacker’ platform in the last few hours and kept monitoring the performance of other teams in case any sudden surge of funds took place. The atmosphere at that time was really electric, but in the end we were delighted with the results achieved.”


Banking on alumni support

Early on, the Manchester team conducted a business SWOT analysis on themselves to find out what each team member should be responsible for, as well as how to best leverage different expertise and personal contacts. To facilitate the solicitation of corporate sponsorship, the team also made use of a wide range of business analysis methods they learnt from the courses to conduct online marketing events. With concerted efforts plus a lot of legwork, the team subsequently succeeded in sourcing many of the gift items on a pro bono basis.


Thanks to the East Asia Centre in Hong Kong’s 25 years of establishment, the Ginger Heart is blessed to have connected with the extensive global network of students and alumni who, in various ways, gave their full support and made the fund raising efforts more productive. And throughout the campaign, the team was backed by the school, teachers and alumni whenever needed.


Shum expressed her gratitude to those experienced Manchester Global MBA alumni for their generous share of past experience and advice. Special thanks were due to Ms. Wendy Wan, a course mate of the MBA programme, for her kindness and charitable support to the underprivileged and the team.


A memorable learning experience

To make sure the campaign align with the goals, the team paid special visits to the charities which would be benefited from the OSC campaign. They also took every opportunity of meeting the public, such as at the Christmas street fairs organised in Wan Chai and Taikoo Place. In return for their efforts, the team has received special commendation for their “execution and strong customer engagement”, while the judges noted their commitment, social responsibility, and exceptional marketing and business skills deployed throughout the campaign.


“The OSC MBA Challenge has been a memorable experience for us in putting together a business plan and putting our marketing and project management experience into practice,” Shum noted. “It also showed us that the skills acquired in an MBA programme are useful not just in business transactions, but also for the benefit of society at large.”


Scoring an international award

Other than OSC team members, Wilfred Leung, a MBA graduate, got an internationally recognized “MBA Student of The Year Award” of The Association of MBAs (AMBA),which honours him for his excellent academic performance, career progression as well as achievements that actualize the value of the MBA and the potentials of a responsible future leader.


AMBA is the international independent authority on postgraduate business education. Their accreditation service is the global standard for all MBA, DBA, and MBM programmes, and they currently accredit around 240 business schools in more than 70 countries.


Source: The Standard, Hong Kong - 25 Jan 2017 (https://goo.gl/photos/PtfQXB56TpJaYuGU6)

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