DMU student is UK's only winner of X-Culture global business competition

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Marketing student Luis Polo Rey has been named as the only British winner of this year’s X-Culture global business competition.

Out of 1,200 teams, the 41-year-old, who moved to Leicester eight years ago from south-east Spain, was a key member of one of the nine teams to win the challenge.

Luis wining pic
Luis and DMU’s X-Culture lead Ellie Hickman in the Hugh Aston Building

“It feels very good,” Luis said. “I can be very competitive, so I put a lot of work into the X-Culture challenge and it’s very rewarding to be named in one of the winning teams.”

Final-year students enrolled on marketing courses studying the module Marketing Strategy and Analysis are invited to take part in the competition, which acts as an optional assessment. Students work in teams of up to eight to solve a real-world business problem as part of an international business challenge.

Teams are formed of students from different countries who meet virtually to discuss and create a report offering solutions. This year, nine organisations put forward business briefs for the students to work on, with one team found to have the best presentation per company.

Luis and his team took on a brief from ClinCaseQuest, a Ukrainian-based organisation that provides virtual training scenarios for medical students who can gain experience in a safe, online environment.

Luis said: “We were looking at ways to expand the business into new markets. Our team was made up of myself, two students from the US, one from Estonia and one from India, so we looked at how we could expand in those areas.

“We settled on India, specifically Chennai, where there are many doctors, medical colleges and an expanding private healthcare sector. We studied their business model and proposed a new social media strategy, a subscription-based pricing strategy and provided a competitor analysis.

“It’s a very detailed report and we’re very proud of what we achieved. Now that the competition is over, I’ll go out to dinner with my girlfriend to celebrate.”

But Luis’ X-Culture journey hasn’t ended with the submission of the team’s report. He has enrolled to be a coach in the 2024 X-Culture challenge and will be helping teams understand the brief they’ve been set and provide tips in producing a report that can both analyse a company’s problems and provide solutions to challenges.

In his role as a coach, he will be marking future assessments and providing feedback on students’ work.

Luis will also be flying out to Thailand to take part in the X-Culture Symposium, which this year takes place in Chiang Rai. The week-long event allows previous X-Culture winners to undertake a live project, network with other winners and attend professional development programmes.

Ahead of his flight to Thailand, Luis said: “I’m looking forward to meeting new people, including the CEO of X-Culture who will be there. It will be very rewarding for my career.

“Taking part in X-Culture has helped me understand how people in other parts of the world work. There were some hard times in the challenge but I worked hard to overcome them and the experience has been very rewarding.”

DMU’s X-Culture lead Ellie Hickman, senior lecturer in Marketing and Advertising worked with Luis throughout the competition and was impressed with his work ethic.

She said: “For the past 5 years, I have led the X-Culture project at DMU, and I am incredibly proud of how hard the students work on this project. The students work across various time zones in addition to their usual lectures and seminars; our students embrace the opportunity to often serve as project leaders, acquiring invaluable skills and cultural insights from their international teammates.

“Luis deserves this recognition as he has worked very hard throughout the project and was the natural team lead for his group. His commitment was evident through the positive feedback from his teammates, his active engagement and consistent participation in our weekly sessions. Moreover,  the team’s report was very impressive and I am so glad they won.”

Posted on Monday 15 April 2024

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