L2R - Eddy, Wing, Jenna, Akil and Ben
Left to right: Eddy , Wing, Jenna, Akil and Ben forming one of the teams to represent Hong Kong Chinese University in the 5th Hult Prize competition.

In its 5th year, the Hult Prize Award has quickly become one of the “go-to” business case competitions for scholars around the world. The winning team receives $1 million to implement the strategic in an incubation period that will receive assistance and resources needed to see this project become successful.

Applying for the Hult Prize competition

This year’s competition proved to be most difficult of all as the case prompts teams to combat non-communicable diseases (NCD) that are apparent from urban slums. In fact, 80% of the world’s NCD deaths worldwide stem from urban slums. At this stage, for teams that wish to apply, they needed to exert competence in a one-page statement and also apply to which location (Boston, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Dubai).

Given the complexity of the case, our team was individually driven and was put together based on our expertise and background. Eddy Goh, who pitched me his vision on the team, approached me. I’ve worked with Eddy before since he is the Director of Sponsorship in my CSR Committee. He is a very organized individual and does what he promises – which is a plus on my book. He wanted a team that was based on individual expertise, and I shared his vision. In the end, our team was formulated with the following members:

  • Eddy from Singapore with a risk management background
  • Akil from India with nano-technology and engineering background
  • Wing from Hong Kong with a fundraising background
  • Jenna from France with a financial research background
  • And me, Ben, from the US with a B2B marketing background

At this point, I was quite happy with the team we had in comparison to what other teams presented at CUHK. We definitely had the diversity and background, and from what I had witnessed, everyone on this team has had good feedback from classmates. However, of all the team members, I’ve only worked with Eddy.

When it came to selecting the location and putting together our statement, we decided to take a strategic approach. One question we asked ourselves was, “Where would we have the highest opportunity to get into the next round?” Sao Paulo being so far and it being known to be more a business city as opposed to a touristy one, it became clear that it was the least favorable cities to other teams, especially when the city is compared to the likes of San Francisco, Boston, Dubai and Shanghai. So our team opted the strategic route and chose Sao Paulo.

Then it came to our one-page statement. Our approach for this was to “go big or go home”. We didn’t want to be “wishy-washy” with our language, so we were very straightforward. Too straightforward some may say, but we thought it would make us stand out amongst other teams. We wanted to show only our strong selling points and highlight them as clearly as possible. Here is what we wrote:

Rule of Hulz competition

It turns out after sending out this one-pager, our team was one of 30 teams selected to go to Sao Paulo to represent Chinese University of Hong Kong. According to Hult, thousands of teams worldwide applied.

To be continued…

Read more:
Hult Diary – Part 1 – Applying for the Hult Prize competition
Hult Diary – Part 2 – Leading up to the competition
Hult Diary – Part 3 – Getting ready for the competition
Hult Diary – Part 4 – The competition

About the Author – Ben Wong

Ben Wong

Ben Wong is a Hinrich Global Trade Leader Scholar on the MBA program at Chinese University of Hong Kong with concentrations on China Business and Marketing. He is a goal-driven and eager B2B marketing and e-commerce professional with five years’ experience in Greater China.