First round completed with 32 teams qualifying for Round 2.

Teams to battle for a chance to showcase the country’s human resource potential.

Over 450 students and professionals registered to take part in the third edition of the Global Management Challenge (GMC) Kenya. The GMC was launched in the country in 2015 to give young professionals, youth and students an opportunity to develop the practical skills required to grow and manage businesses.

Developed by management researchers from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland thirty five years ago, the GMC has grown to become the biggest management simulator in the world.

Through the GMC, companies give employees a holistic experience of growing and managing a business, while students are getting to translate what they learn in class to a real-world setting. Company teams that registered for this edition include: Centum Investments; Tarpo Industries; Antarc Furniture; and Profiles International. Students from Kenyatta University; Jomo Kenyatta University for Agriculture & Technology; University of Nairobi and Strathmore University, as well as professionals pursuing the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification are also taking part. Female leadership has continued to grow, with 51 of the 94 student teams being captained by women this year.

“As an employer, I have a keen interest in getting access to a well-developed talent pool,” explained Asim Shah, Co-Director of the GMC in Kenya, on the reason why the competition was launched in Kenya. “Companies invest heavily in training employees in order get the best possible performance from them. However, the inadequate facilities and resources, as well as obsolete curricula that plague our education system make the gap between fresh graduate and first-class employees very wide. We are working with several businesses and partners, through the GMC, to help develop a culture of self-learning among young people, and expose them to leadership in business. The previous editions of the GMC have also demonstrated that success in entrepreneurship is gender neutral.”

The highly competitive first round has already seen 112 teams knocked down to 32,including two teams from local companies: Antrac Eagle and Profiles International. This number will eventually reduce to eight teams for the national finals. The winning team will represent Kenya at the international finals that will be held in Doha, Qatar, in April 2017. The previous edition of the competition saw a young team from Kenyatta University emerge among the top 10 globally, out of a total of 7,000 teams that participated across the globe.

The GMC has demonstrated that many students and young professionals have the innate ability to successfully manage complex tasks, and that they only need the right channels to direct their skills. The competition, structured around building a virtual business, will give participants practical skills in problem solving, and develop their analytical ability.

“We need to expose young people to what management demands, to provide them with an aspiration that they can work towards every day,” Vicky Karuga, Managing Director of Profiles International TMS (K) said. Profiles International, a leading assessments provider in the human resource field, has signed an agreement to partner with the GMC in Kenya. “We partnered with the GMC because they are changing how young people approach challenges in the work place, and to an extent, in their personal lives. It is more than just a competition and will benefit businesses such as ours in the long term.”

According to Vicky, through the Global Management Challenge (GMC), participants will be able to appreciate how teams interact with each other in a real world scenario, and understand how team members contribute to each other’s successes and failures.

“Such platforms need to be adopted by companies and by our formal academic system. They embrace a concept as old as time: apprenticeship. I wish I had access to such opportunities early in my career development.”

Previous participants of the competition have got the chance to apply the lessons they have learned after securing entry-level professional jobs with GMC partners as well as with other companies including Deloitte and KPMG.

The GMC Kenya team plans to roll out the competition in the rest of East Africa, and aims at working with leading companies to realise its vision. Currently, GMC Kenya partners include Profiles International, Tarpo Industries, and Duma Works, while the ACCA is a supporter of the competition.