Rochester-Bern Scholarship Competition 2016: the winners have been chosen!

Rochester-Bern Scholarship Competition 2016: the winners have been chosen!

Thu Sep 29 07:40:26 CEST 2016

During our Scholarship Competition, the participants were the CEO of their own firm in an online Business Simulation «Strategic Management» and as such, were responsible for business decisions involving market entry, operations, and marketing. Over the course of three weeks, they made progressive decisions to expand «their» business and compete against others in a global marketplace. The five participants with the highest scores were invited for the final presentation round.


Competitors enjoyed this intense experience, as they got to make all the decisions for their firms and see what it takes to succeed. They also discovered what they may not have known before about the elements of business.


After the finalists presented the business plans of their own fictional company in a “Report to the Board”, the jury announced the winner of this year’s Scholarship Competition: Thomas Hess


Thomas Hess won the 1st prize scholarship of CHF 25,000 for the Rochester-Bern Executive MBA program which starts in January 2017. Two further scholarships of CHF 18,000 and CHF 10,000 were awarded to the finalists in second and third place: Saskia Schenker and Marco Dalla Bona.


Rochester-Bern congratulates the winners and looks forward to having them in the class of 2017!


The final decision was made by considering three aspects in equal measure: the overall game score, presentation reasoning & skills, and readiness for an EMBA. For more information about the Rochester-Bern Scholarship Competition, please visit



Thomas Hess, 1st prize winner

«The marketplace simulation game is a great platform to prove your management skills and delivers insight into the job as a CEO. You learn a lot about the interaction of the different departments within the company and the game also showed up some knowledge gaps. You can build up your business strategy and make important decisions for your company – What market shall I supply? How much money to spend in acquisition? What is my production capacity?

Answering these questions was challenging, but motivated me very much for the upcoming EMBA program. Therefore, I absolutely recommend the Scholarship Competition to anyone who wants to get an overview about the EMBA program as well as to check their entrepreneur skills.»


Saskia Schenker, EMBA Class 23/2017

«My motivation to participate in the scholarship competition was my curiosity about the game, my interest in a new experience and the fact that it is a good preparation for the EMBA program.

I liked the opportunity to practice my strategic and logical thinking in the market-game and the challenge to remain self-confident and to act consistent even if you’re not in a pole position. At certain stages I had serious doubt if my tactic would pay off as my competitors were dominating the marketplace. But in the end my strategy proved successful. It was interesting to meet the other participants in the final round and to hear about their experience and reflections. Finishing the scholarship competition winning the 2nd prize is really motivating and I’m looking forward to starting the EMBA program.»


Marco Dalla Bona, EMBA Class 23/2017

«To build a fictional company with all aspects from scratch in a highly competitive market, and envision what could be was a great experience.
I enjoyed the very dynamic and thrilling competition within the group I played, and the valuable feedback after each playing round.
The game reflects largely the reality of an unpredictable market environment, and taught me to fail fast and learn quickly to challenge the status quo like in the real world.


My take-aways from this game are:

  1. It is very hard to make important decisions by yourself without any reflections from peers.
  2. The danger of mixing up causality and correlation.
  3. Don’t decide without facts and figures, and measure what leads to results, not simply what is easy to measure.

The most fun thing was to meet the finalists at the final round in Bern, and to discuss their strategies and moves during the simulation.
I also enjoyed the „report to the board“ presentation to the jury panel – Luckily they did not fire me as CEO.

I heavily recommend the scholarship competition to everyone who is in the process of considering an EMBA program.
It’s a valuable testing ground to validate your readiness for an EMBA, and certainly makes you hungry for more knowledge to come.»


Philippe Voyame, EMBA Class 23/2017

«I truly enjoyed the experience of participating in the scholarship competition. The business simulation gave me the opportunity to measure my strategic and tactical decisions in direct comparison with my competitors. The comprehensive market information always provided immediate feedback on my decisions and therefore supported the learning cycle.

My key takeaway, which I hopefully will be able to integrate in my future decisions, is: “There is no guarantee that a strategy that made you successful in the past will carry you into your future.” Even though this is nothing new and widely known - it does make a difference when you are the only one you can hold responsible.

During the final round I was allowed to justify my decisions in front of a jury which supported the process of self-reflection and contributed a lot to the experience. I definitely recommend the challenge to everybody who is ready to expose himself to the direct feedback of the market – without any excuses.»


Henning Helbig, EMBA Class 23/2017

«I entered the competition for fun but also, to lose fear of making public decisions and have actions analyzed.

The fun quickly turned into burning ambition and the latter became an extremely valuable experience.

The scholarship prizes are a nice benefit, but the competition is worth participating in for itself.

Taking actual decisions and seeing direct effects makes it exciting and by far more memorable than reading a textbook. The perfect warm-up of what’s to come!

The best part about reaching the final round was to meet the other participants and to hear about their strategies and emotions.

I can full-heartedly recommend the scholarship competition to anyone thinking about the Rochester-Bern EMBA program.»


Our special thanks to the jury panel, from whose cumulative academic expertise and extensive business insight the finalists could profit:

  • Prof. Dr. Petra Joerg, CEO, Rochester-Bern Executive Programs
  • Prof. Dr. Urs Wälchli, Prof. of Corporate Financial Policy, Rochester-Bern EMBA Program and Associate Academic Director, Rochester-Bern Executive Programs
  • Mr. Rémy Baumberger, CFO and Member Board of Management, Multi Contact, Alumnus Class 20 (2014/2015)
  • Mr. Roland Heiniger, Head of region Mittelland, Member of the extended Executive Board, Notenstein Privatbank AG, Alumnus Class 14 (2008/2009)


In the photo: Saskia Schenker (2nd place) and Marco Dalla Bona (3rd place). Unfortunately, Thomas Hess could not attend on that day.

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