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Gaining a global perspective in business and teamwork

The Global Enterprise Project (GEP) competition is one of the finest events that I’ve been to. Suddenly you are in a new team with different students, learning new skills, new stories and coming together to work on one project and idea.

The first phase of the competition began in Milan in the Siemens Building, there we were divided into different teams with students from all over Italy. After a fun warm-up session, we were told the details of our challenge, this time it was “smart cities.” After the announcement, we were given a few hours to develop an idea and project that could help our environment and society. During this time we talked about our common issues with big cities and decided that one of the biggest problems we faced everyday was traffic, and so we came up with a simple, yet effective idea: a “smart road sign”.

The project was based on a big city-street monitoring system with a central unit that could calculate the fastest route from each point. Based on this, the road signs would be modified in real-time to display the best way to get to a certain point, thereby reducing stress, pollution, traffic and numerous other problems. Finally, we had to convince the judges. So with a short 2-minute presentation we introduced them to our idea and after just a few minutes they announced that we were one of the two winning teams and would be going to Madrid for the European final. I was quite surprised and very excited.

Going to Madrid was so exciting. Upon arriving we joined a warm-up session where all the National winning teams were mixed up with participants from all over Europe,  we got to meet new people and learn about new cultures. After the warm up session, we went to see the Real Madrid stadium and then had dinner altogether, at which point we were able to get to know all the students that were not in our team.

The day after the real work started, this time the challenge was about students and companies: how to get them closer to each other. This was a very complicated subject and we all had very different Ideas, coming from different backgrounds, including studies and work experience. After a whole day of discussion, we finally decided on our plan, it was to develop a mix of seminars and workshops in schools lead by companies. We started by writing down our business concept and presentation, and in the evening we once again had dinner all together and had the chance to share the experience of our first day.

The last day, came with the usual final rush. The day did not begin in the best way are the file containing our business concept, which we had collaborated on together late into the night, was corrupt. So, we had to write down the whole concept over again, this time in only a few minutes. This was a terrible experience, but I think that it taught us a valuable lesson in how to manage stress and time. Despite these pitfalls, we managed to submit all the documents on time and were ready for the presentation, however this time we weren’t the best team for the projects and we hadn’t win the competition – but it’s all part of the game.

I would say that this experience has opened my mind. Through GEP, I learnt about different cultures and people, and developed a different way of thinking. In the end I learnt a lot, how to manage time, stress and be a part of a team. This last part, teamwork is the most important because throughout your life you will have to cooperate with other people, and learning this basic skill is something every student should learn before entering the world of work. 

Written by Anmolpreet Singh, an alumnus from JA Italy.

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