It’s been some time since Team Yeshuas returned from representing Kenya at the Global Management Challenge International Finals in Doha, Qatar. While aiming to better the previous year’s achievements, the biggest take away for team captain, Emmanuel Akaka and his team has been the journey from start to finish.

They recently sat down with our PR team to put words to their experience and ultimate transformation. Ian Nakaya emphasised on his transformation by stating, “I look back at my former self” while Daisy Mbiuki’s words will resonate with Kenya’s struggling job-seekers, “being ordinary is not enough.”

One of the reasons why the Global Management Challenge (GMC) is so impactful, is the real-world experience that participants go through in managing a manufacturing business in the globalised world. Yeshuas compare this against the theoretical models they are taught at university which are outdated – how do you apply outdated theory to new world practicality? The harsh reality is that you have to teach yourself. Self-learning is becoming an increasingly critical skill not just at the university level, but even in employment. Employers are embracing online courses which often do not come with a tutor. The knowledge economy expects you to research on your own and utilise resources widely available. After all, academia only develops through (non-plagiarised) new contribution to research. Cutting-edge is what gets noticed, not obsolete or repetitive theory.

In the days before Yeshuas departed for Doha, one of the GMC Kenya partners, Profiles International (K) facilitated a workshop, “The Five Behaviours of a Cohesive Team”. This was after the psychometric assessments that were also facilitated by Profiles before the National Final. While the psychometric assessment brought about self-awareness for the individual, the workshop brought the team closer together by enhancing their trust in each other and laying a foundation for a more cohesive team into the future. For Greener Pastures as the GMC host in Kenya, it was to better prepare them for any eventuality in the simulated world of business at the International Finals. For the team members, it was to bring to the surface who they really are and how best they fit into a team, be it for the GMC, school projects or in employment.

The trip to Doha was nothing short of ordinary. The shock of what a modern, clean and highly developed city looks like compared to back home, set the scene of where Kenya ranks in comparison to the world. The quality of the competition was also a reality check; senior managers, MBA students, surgeons, PhD candidates all stood in the mix. The UAE team was an all-Emirati women’s team while the teams from Russia and Qatar were professionals. The Russian team was an eventual winner out of 6,000 participants – the best of the best.

In the Semi-Finals, Kenya was drawn in a tough group that included China, Hong Kong SAR, India and Slovakia. “We tried really hard, but those guys from China and Hong Kong were too good,” were the dejected words I got from Lillian Nyangwara after the semi-final results were announced. The two regions would join Macau SAR, Estonia, Morocco, Portugal, France and Russia in the Final. In a close final, Macau SAR emerged victorious with Russia as Runners Up.

Zakayo Omondi claims that the soft skills they’ve gained from the GMC experience sets them apart from the other graduates. “GMC opens up your inner potential… I met new people who have really impacted [sic] me”.

Soft skills, networking, decision-making, team-work, Microsoft Excel, trust, conflict resolution, dealing with consequences, time management, delegation, support, accountability, self-learning, transformation, experience, revelations – all the buzz words and phrases that have been mentioned in the last few weeks that spring to mind. Quite a lot from just participating in the GMC!

Team Yeshuas, what are you going to do with this experience?