On the 30th of April, the second annual case competition for students interested in the work of the UN was held in Copenhagen. The case competition was a collaboration between UNYA, UNOPS, and the Un City in Copenhagen who hosted the event. Over two days, ten teams competed to come up with the best solution to a case inspired by real challenges faced by the UN.
This year’s challenge was to create a strategy for The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on how to achieve greater diversity among its suppliers. UNOPS engages in development projects, for example by building infrastructure in post-conflict or –disaster areas and economies in transition.
On day two, a panel of academics, UN-professionals and private sector representatives declared a winner. The ‘Sustainable Diversity Hub’ won on the grounds of its originality, applicability, sustainability and presentation.
– The solution was built on UNOPS cooperating with supplier associations and cooperatioves to build the local businesses capabilities and unite them to a level where they were able to bid on UNOPS procurement operations, says UNYA coordinator Frederik Rasmussen
Real World Experience
Managing a thousand development projects worldwide for aproximately a billion dollars each year, UNOPS wants to include more small and minority-owned businesses as suppliers to increase economic opportunities for marginalized groups and small-and medium-sized enterprises that might otherwise be overlooked as suppliers
Sebastian Rodas Medeiros participated in the competition and according to him, there was a lot of experience to be gained from it:
– It was incredibly interesting to work with a concrete case for UNOPS. UNOPS is not the most mainstream UN organization, so it was great to get a better understanding of what they do. Especially since procurement diversity has a lot to do with my studies (International Business and Politics) so I was able to learn a lot about procurement, supply chain sustainability and use some of my political, development skills.
Diversity all around
Each team was put together as a mix of people with different academic and professional backgrounds. The diversity on the teams added to the experience, says Sebastian:
–The process, two days of full time commitment within a team with people that you had just met, and with very different backgrounds was great! It was very intense, as you had to get into a case of which you didn’t know much, and work with people that you didn’t know. But it was great because it worked, people naturally found their place on the team, getting the best out of each participant’s skills and personality.
Frederik calls it a success and predicts more case competitions in the future:
–I really enjoyed the experience of working closely with others, and seeing the case competition evolve from its early idea to the end result. The experience was stressful at times – especially leading up to and during the event – but I still enjoyed it. It provided us all with great experiences and valuable lessons for future case competitions.