An analysis of the perceived benefits of a case study-based competition in financial management
Van Hoepen, Rona
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Students from 24 participating regions take part in teams of four in the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) GBC (Global Business Challenge) annually. The GBC is in the form of a business competition which is based on a case study of a real company. The participants receive the case study on which they should submit a written report. Teams are shortlisted based on the reports, and the shortlisted teams have to prepare a presentation to a panel of judges. This study explores whether participation in the GBC had any benefits for the participants in terms of exposure to various skills and the development of those skills. The skills included: technical skills and competencies, skills in roles of an accountant, soft skills, managerial accounting skills, financial management skills, strategic analysis skills, subject exploration, learning behaviour, practical application, and personal experience. A questionnaire was given to participants whose teams managed to compete in the global final of the GBC 2013 that was held in South Africa. Questions were formulated to address exposure to and development of the above mentioned skills, and participants had to complete the questionnaire individually. Relevant statistical analyses were done on the data collected in the questionnaire. These statistical analyses included a confirmatory factor analysis, calculation of the Cronbach alpha coefficients, descriptive statistics for the total group, independent t-tests for comparisons between two variables, ANOVAs (analysis of variances) for comparisons between more than two variables and Tukey’s post-hoc tests. Descriptive statistics for the entire group of participants are discussed, as well as comparisons made between various sub-classifications. The sub-classifications included a comparison between male and female participants, participants from different regions, top six shortlisted teams and teams who were not shortlisted, and participants whose mother tongue is English and those whose mother tongue is another language. The findings indicated that the students definitely perceived that they have been exposed to the mentioned skills as a result of taking part in the GBC. They also indicated that they are of the opinion that participation in the GBC enhanced those skills. The qualitative remarks were mainly positive, and indicated that the students enjoyed participation in the GBC. The study concludes with recommendations to the core audience of future GBC participants, academic mentors and future students attempting the final CIMA examinations, which includes a framework of the most important skills. A recommendation is also made to the peripheral audience of CIMA and financial management lecturers.