The Boston Consulting Group’s recent business case competition in Belgium perfectly illustrates how organizations should engage with specific target groups. By asking students to create innovative fundraising initiatives to support the growth of SOS Children’s Villages, BCG has taken a position on a societal problem: how to support children without or at risk of losing parental care?
On 17-20 February 2014, BCG received more than 1200 students from universities across Belgium to partake in the 9th edition of the BCG Strategy Cup, a case competition for students to use their creative and analytical abilities to develop beneficial solutions for SOS Children’s Villages, a global NGO supporting children without parental care.
The aim of the case study was to find solutions to support the NGO’s future development. Students worked in teams and were coached and guided by BCG consultants, as well as by the NGO SOS Children’s Villages. At the finals, on February 20th, the teams presented their plans for various fund raising initiatives to a BCG-SOS jury. The team with the best approach won.
The winning team was announced on February 20th and consisted of four students, commercial and civil engineers, from Ghent University. According to BCG, the team stood out because of the potential of their initiative and their pragmatic approach.
“The challenge has been an exciting one for the students because they’ll get to see the NGO putting their recommendations into practice,” explained Peter Adams, Partner and Managing Director at BCG in Belgium. “The team will now get an exceptional opportunity to visit one of the SOS Children’s Villages in Africa to see how their recommendations have positively contributed to benevolent community work.”
The BCG Strategy Cup is an outstanding initiative and a notable best practice for the Employer Branding profession. The reasons why are presented below.
Firstly, the nature of the business case competition was appealing. Generation Y are known for needing a sense of purpose, being dedicated to a cause and serving a greater good: Universum’s research shows that this specific aspiration is in the top three career goals for 21% of business students. By working on a real problem with a nonprofit organization and by providing pro bono consulting services, the competition addressed Generation Y’s need to doing something good.
Secondly, BCG used relevant communication channels to reach their target audience: marketing the BCG Strategy Cup on campus, using social media (see their Facebook page) to get the message out to a young audience, and using video to capture the spirit of the event. Via their campaign, BCG succeeded in building awareness about the competition and their organization.
Thirdly, the event strengthened BCG’s commitment to corporate social responsibility: BCG demonstrated its commitment by organizing the competition, engaging with students and a nonprofit organization, SOS Children’s Villages, and offered pro bono services and expertise to guide the project.
Lastly, the students benefited from the competition. Students could apply what they have learnt at university to create a concrete plan to a real-life challenge. They got firsthand experience of what it’s like to work as a consultant and collaborate in teams, and they gained a valuable experience to add to their curriculum vitae.
It’s a competition where all parties profited: SOS Children’s Villages got free consulting from some of the brightest minds in Belgium; students got real-life experience in consulting and possibly a future BCG job offer; BCG got visibility and helped secure its future talent pipeline. Getting 1 200 students from universities across Belgium, the BCG Strategy Cup is definitely a concept worth applauding.
“It gives everyone a unique opportunity to make a difference by helping SOS Children’s Villages to further its impact. It’s been a rewarding case competition for both the students and for BCG, and it’s an achievement that all the students should be proud of,” said Adams.