UNYP graduates won the prestigious BCG Strategy Cup

In November, three recent UNYP graduates Andrea Šandorová, Jakub Čermák and Jiří Sýkora won the prestigious BCG Strategy Cup, a student competition held by the Boston Consulting Group in the Czech Republic. Participating teams are required to analyse a real-life business problem and to come up with a solution. The competition was introduced in 2007 and has been organized over a couple of weeks every autumn since then. For the winning team Jiří Sýkora provided us with an interview.

1. How and how long did you prepare yourself for this competition?

To be honest, there is no way to perfectly prepare yourself for a competition like the BCG Strategy Cup.  Like us, you can practice various case studies, study business frameworks or read books about the practices in consulting, but you can never anticipate the actual case, problem and the industry you will be given. For sure, we have benefited from several courses taken during our times at UNYP, since we knew how to easily apply business thinking and approaches in the process of problem-solving as well as knowing where to look for hints in the search for the solution. However, our success stemmed mainly from the great team we were able to form as well as from our motivation and determination that got the best out of us. All of the above and the intense week characterised by hard work and sleepless nights led us to a successful end.

2. What was your project about?

Our task was to assess three potential acquisitions for a global mining company. The company wanted to diversify its portfolio and support its future growth. Based on our analysis, which included cash flow projections for all the acquisition targets, synergies and a pro-forma analysis, we recommended the acquisition of a Colombian coal mine. We were then asked to present our recommendation at the Boston Consulting Group, which was followed by a round of demanding questions from the consultants.  

3. What was atmosphere, competitors here?

We did not really have the opportunity to meet our competitors until the final ceremony (dinner in Sahara café) for all 8 remaining finalists. The teams were mainly from VSE and IES (Charles University). The ambiance created by BCG during the beginning ceremony as well as during the final dinner was incredibly friendly. We got plenty of advice/feedback from every BCG consultant participating in the competition. Everyone was kind to us and everybody treated us as equals, not just as random students they did not care about. Overall, the atmosphere was surprisingly pleasant. The only hard time they gave us was during the Q&A part of our presentation. But of course playing the "good cop/bad cop" strategy was their plan from the beginning to see how well we could react to stressful situations.

4. What this competition gave it to you?

Firstly, we learned more about consulting, met a number of consultants from BCG and decided that this is the place where we would like to work. Secondly, we became more comfortable with presenting our work to senior-level executives, which requires having every sentence backed up by solid evidence. The most exciting part was when we started realizing that this accomplishment will open doors into our dream careers.


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