Three master students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) have won the international Proctor & Gamble CEO Challenge 2021. The global competition aims to raise awareness and address sustainability issues in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, to allow participants to better understand what it takes to run a company from a general management perspective. Alicia Burke (MSc Strategic Management), Teodor Zhekov (MSc Strategic Management and MSc Finance & Investments), and Vlad Duricu (MSc Finance & Investments) were among the 7,000 European students and 30,000 students worldwide who entered the competition in teams of three.

The P&G CEO Challenge tests students’ aptitude for business strategy and real-life problem-solving while asking them to demonstrate their ingenuity, intelligence, and ability to think critically about leading a brand, and it involves professionals from the company and its divisions. Student teams from around the world competed to be ‘the next CEO of Proctor & Gamble’ with the grand prize being a meeting with Proctor & Gamble’s Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer David Taylor.

In the national and regional rounds the students were asked to focus on different objectives in FMCG, including an online case submission, a numerical and logical assessment and pitching a product or initiative that reduced the amount of waste that P&G produces. The continental finals asked the students to take their thinking a step further and pitch a product or initiative that would reduce packaging yet still engage buyers. The Global Final in May was a competition in real-time using a simulation of manufacturing and marketing and was based on points.

“We learned how to identify business opportunities for our company, how to build a go-to market strategy, how to assess the potential response of the competitors, and how the competitor’s behaviour would affect our business decisions,” said the students. 

The RSM students started their battle in early 2021, winning both the National and Regional Competitions, which moved them to the  Continental (European) Stage in March where they qualified for, and won, the three-day Global Finals in May and the chance to meet with CEO David Taylor.

Team member Teodor Zhekov said, in a celebratory post on LinkedIn: “We are truly looking forward to this amazing experience and learning from the leaders of today in order to contribute to building a better world tomorrow.”

Accounting and control , Alumni , Bachelor / Bedrijfskunde , Bachelor / IBA , Business-Society Management , Companies , Finance , Homepage , In the spotlight , International , Newsroom , Marketing Management , Master , MBA , Organisation and personnel management , Strategic management and entrepreneurship , Sustainability , Technology and operations management , China , Positive change , MiM - Master in Management