IE team achieves 4th place at L'óreal E-Strat 2008

Escrito el 9 mayo 2008 por Alumni en Others

«When I look back, I am surprised by our persistence during these 6 months. All of us ever felt depressed and stressed, but never gave up.¨ — Ruiwei (Vera) Xiong


«YOYA? A flower or fruit?» «That was my reaction when my teammate proposed the team name to me. I wouldn’t have made the fun, if I knew that this name will bring honor to me.» — Nishant Mittal


«Those were amazing 6 months of my life. It was most hectic months of MBA period but I enjoyed. The most important outcome for me was the learning from it.» — Vishalkumar Vithlani  


IE Team.jpgL’Oréal E-Strat is one of largest business competition covering over 120 countries, and has attracted tens of thousands of students from both undergraduate and MBA programs to participate every year since 2001. This is the first year for IE’s students to enter into the Semi-final, and they have achieved the honor of 4th place worldwide.

To share their experiences and leanings, the Student Office took an interview with them as following:

1.   How did you set up your LOréal group?


To be a part of YOYA team was by chance. I was not sure to participate or not, but fortunately I met them, who were looking for the third partner. To be a part of YOYA was a mere serendipity, which I believe was one of the best decisions of my life.


I wanted to join a diverse group in terms of work experience, but it happened to us by chance.

RuiWei (Vera):  

I was pretty sure about my interests in this competition, but couldn´t find the other 2 team mates until the last day of registration. Sometimes coincidence changes your life (smile).


2.  It says that 17,000 teams participated in L’Oréal E-Strat this year. Could you briefly introduce the stations/process of this competition?

L’Oréal E-Strat is a highly structured Business Competition with 4 major sections:

1)     The 1st round, which only allows 10% of the teams to enter into the next rounds. Teams are ranked in terms of the Stock Price Index (SPI) they’ve achieved. This year, 1700 teams passed the 1st round.

2)     The 2nd to 5th rounds, after which only 300 teams can be eligible to enter into the Semi-final.  SPI determines the results as well.

3)     The Semi-final, which requires the rest teams to achieve the 1st position in their zone. Business Plan is required for this round, except for the SPI. Finally we found that we have achieved the highest score in terms of Business Plan Worldwide, which made us the 1st position in the South Europe (zone 2).

4)     International Final, which is hold in Paris, requires those 8 teams from each zone worldwide present their company to the jury and convince them to acquire the company.


3.   What do you think are the major success factors that make you the 4th position worldwide?


Teamwork. We supported and helped each other to go out of the «downside motion spiral«, which has been experienced by each of us.


Teamwork. Besides what Vera said, we also kept sharing our work experience and arguments to make sound solutions.


Teamwork, undoubtedly.


4  How do you think of the result?


I´m happy with this result, but still a bit disappointed and surprised (smile), we could have done even better. And according to the jury, our performance ranked the 2nd in terms of our presentation.


I am quite satisfied with my performance and happy to see that our effort has made us reach the 4th position, out of 17000 teams.


Being on the 4th position in final round was a bit disappointment, as we were aiming the 1st position and we have made an impressive business presentation. But, the praise we received from the jury members was a great experience.


5. How do you think of the process?


Well, the process was a mixture of hard work, commitment, passion, arguments, and of course late night coffees and IE sandwiches.

Ruiwei (Vera):

It’s tough, but fun.


The best thing of the competition was undoubtedly the whole process we went through. It has proved our best efforts. 


6.  What do you think of L’Oreal, after you took a closer look at it?

Ruiwei (Vera):

According to the stuff of L’Oréal, it is a typical French company, which demands passion and flexibility. And for me it’s also an absolute fashion company, which implants the concept of fashion in every element of their culture, such as the design of office building, the dressing of stuffs, the way they present themselves, etc.


I honestly miss the time I spent in L’Oréal. People there are passionate, outgoing, and vigorous.


It’s an interesting environment to work in, but if one is looking to work at L’Oréal, he/she needs to understand culture first and need to adept to it. 


7.  What do you think would have done better, given one more chance?


If we got a chance, we could have kept our SPI as high as possible right from the beginning.

Ruiwei (Vera):   

For me we still have big room to improve to an even higher stage. For instance:

1)  Contact local L’Oréal or ever participant for concrete guidelines.

We got misleading by the guideline on E-Strat website, which says that we should sell our company to «investors».  But in fact we were expected to sell to «L’Oréal», which makes crucial difference in the aiming of the presentation.  Other teams have had this information since they got contact with their local L’Oréal.

2) Focus more on the market campaign & products positioning.

All in all, this is a market-oriented business game, without the products portfolio, relative positioning, and the future practices, the presentation would hardly reach the «perfect».

3) Leave less space for finance.  

What do figures and forecast mean to the investors? How much they will believe in these? Even been cut half of the finance content, our presentation was still regarded as «financial», which is not favorable for most the case.

4) The earlier practice, the better.

We made a «crap» rehearsal the day before we left to Paris, and worked until 4:00am the other day to modify our presentation and finalize it. Although we finally have made a wonderful performance, we should have done even better if with constant improvement on cooperation and time management.


More emphasis on Share Price Index would have given us better chance. Besides, more alignments to the principles of L’Oréal are necessary. Balanced mix of finance and creativity of the presentation could help us achieve better output as well. 


8.  What has this competition brought to you? / What does this competition mean to you?


For me participating in L’Oréal was a ride of immense learning. I was able to imply my understanding of management principals and could see the result on grounds. Moreover, delivering our final draft in front of management board was again a confidence builder.

Ruiwei (Vera):

For me, it means the opportunities to practice our past experience and learning, and to have contacts of the chief executives from L’Oréal so that have better look at this leading company.


For me, it was one of the best experiences of my IMBA life.


9. Do you have further comments on this competition?

Yes, we’d like to thank those people who ever helped us, and the best wishes to the other mates. In spite of being busy they took out their time for us and boosted our moral. Without the immense supports from them we couldn’t have made such a performance.

Good luck for the teams next year!


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