Intel backs MBA students

For the second year in a row, the Intel-MBS case competition has brought out the competitive spirit in our talented MBA students to help the world’s biggest chipmaker crack a major business problem, and to recruit.

Intel is evolving from a PC company to a business that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices. The bottom line is to sell more chips, if not for desktop PCs then for the cloud servers that manage and store data, once kept on the hard drives of home and business computers.


2016 Intel–MBS Case Competition winners (L–R): Andrew Davey, Yogendran Thevaraj, Phillip Neckers, Emma Young, Intel’s Poyen Cheng (judge) and Daniel Buzacott 

As businesses move to the cloud to manage the growing volume of data they generate, and mobile devices and streaming services like Netflix add to the flood, Intel is looking for ways to use the data boom to boost chips sales.

Encouraged by the $7000 prize pool and their own USB-sized Intel computer, our students took up the challenge. Nine teams of 45 students were given two days to prepare their ideas, and the final five teams had just 10 minutes to pitch them to Finance Manager Poyen Cheng and Senior Finance Specialist (and MBS alumnus) Sanjeev Selvarajah from Intel Malaysia and Professor Jim Frederickson and Assistant Professor Geoff Martin from MBS.

Students identified opportunities in the emerging mega-markets of China and India for cloud-connected health and agricultural data services – excellent ideas that require improved Internet connections to succeed.

But the winning team spotted an obvious possibility, right on our doorstep, that exploits Australia’s well developed Internet and mobile network and our love affair with TV and sport.

They suggested Intel team up with and a local data analytics company and Optus, holder of the rights to English Premier League, to stream sporting events online with real-time team and player statistics, and then expand into other sports and Asia Pacific as they gain knowledge and expertise.

“It’s such an honour and thrill to have a company like Intel applaud your idea and hard work,” said Phil Neckers, part-time MBA student, SRC President and member of the winning team. “I was a finalist last year but didn’t win a prize. But this year, our team identified a real opportunity, right under our noses, which we only noticed when team member Yogi pointed it out.”

Sanjeev Selvarajah, a former accountant who was recruited by Intel Malaysia after completing his MBA at MBS in 2014, was impressed by all the ideas he judged.

“We have set a very high bar at MBS with this competition, and the students certainly delivered,” he said. “The winning team’s proposal was creative, structured with a well-thought-out execution plan and very well pitched. That separated them from the other teams.”

Sanjeev said the case competition was an important part of Intel’s recruitment drive in the Asia–Pacific region.

“Melbourne Business School is an important source of the great talent we need to grow. In the last year, in addition to myself, we have recruited Ian Qin to our Beijing office and plan to continue our growing partnership.”