During three intensive days from 24 to 26 August 2015, some of Denmark's most skilled economics students from University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, CBS and DTU meet in a competition to see who is the best to convert theoretical knowledge into practice. The competition is organised by DONG Energy and Implement Consulting Group.
The students have already started solving the major case.
It is rare that a consultancy firm and a large commercial business join forces to involve students in a competition covering strategy and action plan for a business-critical initiative. However, this is exactly what Implement Consulting Group and DONG Energy are doing by inviting economics students to give their views on how DONG Energy can strengthen its position within one of the company's activities. The assignment is handed out on Monday morning at DONG Energy in Gentofte, and the participating teams will present their solutions on Wednesday. The winning team will be rewarded a prize of DKK 10,000.
In the case, focus is on how the students convert their solid theoretical foundation into practice. Furthermore, emphasis is on how the students cooperate on the project. Therefore, Implement Consulting Group will give the students an introduction course to the consultant role and coach them during the period.
A huge difference between theory and practice
DONG Energy and Implement Consulting Group often find that there is a long way from the theory that young economics students learn during their studies to a working day in a large company. Here, cooperation and dialogue, and thereby factors such as 'atmosphere', 'energy', 'trust' and 'authenticity', have at least just as much impact on project results as the underlying theoretical rationale. This is the background for the initiative.
Poul Hæstrup, Partner in Implement Consulting Group, said: "Our focus has been to create solutions that work in practice throughout all the 20 years we've been doing consultancy work. Our experience has shown us that such solutions always include an early and broad involvement of the customer's organisation and a very comprehensive element of co-creation in the solution." Hæstrup continued: "The solution to the problem is therefore just as much the customer's doing as ours, which again has a huge positive impact on the ownership during the subsequent operational phase."
According to Poul Hæstrup, working in this way necessitates that on the one hand, the consultants are professional nerds within their field and on the other hand also possess the competences and the professionalism which make things happen. Hæstrup explained: "Change is basically about people and we have a tendency to forget that. We simply can't understand why a solution which is absolutely fantastic in theory isn't well received by the organisation."
Morten Kidal from DONG Energy supplemented: "Danish economics students are generally very skilled, and we're pleased to invite a group inside our organisation who can take a fresh look at one of our activities. We have chosen a complex case, so the students will need to tap into all their theoretical knowledge, and it will be very exciting to see how they convert their knowledge to fit our world."