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CIOB Global Student Challenge 2018

6 August 2018

6 mins

July was an exciting time for four engineering students as they headed to Toronto, Canada, with Dr Vivien Chow for the CIOB Global Student Challenge 2018. After a hard-fought competition, Team Ares of Loughborough University came third overall.

Your most memorable part(s) of the trip?

Owen: The most memorable part of the trip for me was the President’s Dinner. It was a really enjoyable evening to finish off a great week.

Rob: The CIOB had booked the hotel for us, but on arrival we were told that the rooms were no longer available. To resolve this, the receptionist treated us to a full upgrade in the newly renovated side of the hotel – I spent the whole week in my own Super King Room, complete with a panoramic view of both Toronto harbour and the city – it was unbelievable!

Emily: Being involved with the sustainability debate, it was an amazing opportunity to discuss issues in the industry with fellow young leaders as well as industry experts. I didn’t realise it was being recorded for CPD until we got in the room!

Hope: The CIOB organised amazing events from networking, the Toronto Harbour Cruise and the President’s dinner. We got the chance to visit around Toronto during our free time which was a bonus. For me, I really enjoyed the trip as a whole; it was great and memorable!

Dr Vivien: I enjoyed the group discussions we had with CIOB members during the official Members Forum events. The organisers made a lot of effort to integrate the university teams with the members by dividing us and mixing us around for each activity, which meant that I met a lot of different members as well as representatives from other universities. The discussions were thought-provoking and they gave our students the opportunity to contribute to a wider dialogue about where the industry is heading and what the CIOB should do to guide the industry.

What were your biggest challenges of the trip?

Owen: Competing in the final of the competition was a challenge. The submission time changed from 1 week to 1 hour! Suddenly, we had to make decisions in a couple of minutes which previously could have been made over a day or so. The final also introduced an additional factor of competing against the other teams, which meant that we went from having two teams (the computer and your own) bidding for jobs, to seven teams (each university and the computer). This made the competition much tougher as we had to plan ahead and study which jobs we were estimating, bidding for and aiming to win in much greater detail.

Rob: Day 2 of the challenge saw a few changes to the rules of the simulation in that our inputs would be compared against the other teams in addition to the computer. This made my bidding section in particular very hard. To win jobs, which ultimately won the game, mark-ups had to be reduced considerably to undercut other teams. However, too low and the bid would have been rejected.

Emily: We had time issues with a couple of the rounds but we seemed to come out of those pretty well in the end.

Hope: The biggest challenge was probably the GSC itself. During the early years prior to the finals, we had a week to discuss and send our submissions. However, during the finals we had an intensive 2 days for the competition of which we had an hour for each submission. It really tested our teamwork and reliance on each other.

How the trip benefitted you in the long run?

Owen: The trip gave us a great opportunity to network with leaders in the global construction industry as well as a large number of like-minded university students from across the globe. The trip also provided us with a wealth of construction knowledge which could be useful going forward in our degree and in our future careers.

Rob: The trip was a brilliant opportunity to not only visit a new city and create lasting memories, but to also meet a number of influential leaders from some of the largest global organisations, and like-minded students from all over the world. Many of us came away with an array of business cards and contact details should we need them in the future.

Emily: Definitely the networking, I’ve made multiple connections with people from around the world who’ve encouraged me to stay in touch, that gives me the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge from so many different cultures. The members are all so friendly and helpful, they really want students and graduates to succeed in the industry. I’ve even been asked to write a report about the GSC for the CIOB’s Middle East North Africa hub.

Hope: As a GSC finalist, it gave us the privilege to have been part of the member’s forum which really opened my eyes about the future movement of the industry. Hearing the personal journeys and words of advise from the CIOB members really encouraged me for the future of my professional development.

Dr Vivien: Besides the competitive element, this trip provided an excellent networking opportunity for our students as they met CIOB Members from all over the world. The Members all commented to me that they were impressed by how Team Ares conducted themselves and how enthusiastic, bright, and articulate they all were. I hope that our team will be able to nurture these connections as they embark on their graduate careers.

Advice for students going into it next year?

Owen: I would advise students to just give it a go. If you put the effort in during the early years, you’ll be in with a good shout of getting to the final! I would also say not to give up – every team will have a bad submission at some point so if it doesn’t start too well, keep going and hopefully the following submission will improve.

Rob: Just enjoy the experience more than anything, not many opportunities offer an all-expenses-paid trip to a new part of the world! Although, I’d also encourage anyone to talk to as many people as possible; the delegates attending the members forum had a lot of good advice and it was interesting to hear about their careers within the industry.

Emily: Trial as much as you can before you start the early years, and if you get to the finals don’t be afraid to slash mark ups when you go against the other teams.

Hope: It is an amazing opportunity to take part in. It will be rewarding, but you have to go into it with a team mindset to reach the finals with the aim to win!

Dr Vivien: Take the plunge and join in! From everything I have experienced with Team Ares, you will have to work hard but the end rewards are well worth the effort. The team had a terrific time in Toronto and I am so proud of all they have achieved!

Describe the trip in 3 words?

Owen: Enjoyable worthwhile experience

Rob: On. Another. Level.

Emily: Inspiring, networking, fun

Hope: Unforgettable, rewarding, fun

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