[Sponsored Article] Knowledge is of no value unless it is put into practice. Therefore, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants has initiated the Global Business Challenge North Asia Final (GBC) to grow future business leaders by offering them practical learning experiences. GBC has attracted students of top universities from around North Asia to showcase their talent in business management. It cultivates undergraduates' outstanding business characteristics, helping them to sharpen their career competitiveness and growing into future business leaders of social development. The GBC North Asia 2017 was successfully run last June. Passionate university students from different parts of the region such as Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan and Macau gathered at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to compete for strategic business thinking through analysis of business case studies. The winning teams not only received real awards, but not got valuable overseas internship opportunities. He that travels far knows much Taejin Kim, one of the winners in the competition, is a native Korean studying at the Kyoto University of Japan. He was thrilled to have this opportunity to visit Hong Kong by joining the competition. “GBC was one of the biggest challenges in my life,” says Kim. “To compete with international future business leaders is a real excitement I have never had before. All competing teams had to make a decision within a realistic and complicated model. We discussed over and over again and studied much more than in the university. I also enjoyed the talent show during which I have made new friends and expanded my network.” More encouraging is that Kim was offered a one-month internship opportunity to work in Shanghai for PwC China after winning the award. “It’s the first overseas internship in my life,” says Kim. “I got the chance to work on various projects with other interns and staff, while getting engaged in many client events. Everybody is so friendly to me giving me an enjoyable time in Shanghai.” Kim appreciates the fact that GBC 2017 has opened a door for him to reach out to different parts of the world and broadened his horizons to the real world. “Travelling thousands of miles is better than reading thousands of books. GBC has made my dream come true.” Putting theory into practice The best part of an internship is that it teaches a young person about a specific industry and company, and enables him/her to put theory into practice. This is the greatest value Eve Wang and Lucas Wu from Jinan University of China who has crowned the champion in GBC North Asia 2017 have seen from the competition. “GBC has been an incredible journey,” says Wang. “Not only has the competition enhanced my business analysis and presentation skills, but the opportunity to work in Coca-Cola as an intern has also given me great insights into my future career path. The fact that a college student got a place in a large multinational corporation is amazing enough.” Wu, the other member of the winning team, got an internship opportunity in Coca-Cola’s mergers and acquisitions department. “I was engaged in a project to make recommendations on M&A targets. I had a chance to learn about value chain, consumer insights and advanced data analysis skills, while getting involved in designing an evaluation framework for candidate companies. These are all tasks you would have never had the opportunity to do inside the classroom.” Both Wang and Wu feel lucky that their internship positions have placed them right at the heart of the action, enabling them to derive maximum benefits from the summer working opportunity. From pure accounting to business management Another value of GBC is that it grows accounting students into management accountants through practical studies and certification. Chih-Kai Yang, a first-year student of master of accountancy from the National Chengchi University of Taiwan, treasures the valuable experience he has got by participating in the event. “Traditionally most accounting students become accountants after graduation,” says Yang. “But thanks to the GBC, I have enhanced my knowledge in management accounting, which includes the sourcing, analysis, communication and use of decision-relevant financial and non-financial information to generate and preserve business values, much more than just crunching numbers.” By passing the certificate level of management accounting examination, Wu has got a solid certification in management accounting which has boosted my confidence in pursuing his ideal career in future. He also appreciates the practical training as well as the positive learning atmosphere created by the tutors who are so caring and helpful. "GBC is a great opportunity for students around North Asia to showcase their talent in business management and gain international exposure and working experience, inspiring them for future career development," says Vivian Fung, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communication, North Asia, The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “It also creates opportunities for employers to select elites from new graduates. Every year, the final competition is conducted in one of the cities in region, including Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Mongolia.” Nowadays, managers are faced with a wide range of decisions under resource constraints involving varying time frames in an uncertain environment. What we need for a brighter future are fresh ideas and new energy. That’s what the GBC has fitted in – seizing today by planning for tomorrow.