When UBS Holds a Competition

by Rishabh Rastogi, Vaibhav Bahadur | Photo Credits: UBS | 5 February 2014

Internships are not the only things you can do during the summer breaks.

UBS, the global financial services company, organized a ‘UBS Group Technology Case Study Competition’ for undergraduates in Hong Kong during the past summer. UBS is the world’s largest manager of wealth according to rankings published by Scorpio Partnership last year.

With technology now an essential aspect of banking operations, international financial institutions like UBS typically make significant investment in technology. This Case Study Challenge was therefore a great opportunity, particularly for students majoring in technology-related disciplines, to visit the Hong Kong offices of a global firm and to showcase their skills to perhaps their potential employers.

Before Anything — the Competition Results

Out of the 25 teams that participated from across CUHK, HKUST, and HKU, 5 teams qualified for the second and final round of the competition- 3 from HKUST and 2 from HKU.

Then which university did the winning team emerge from?

Both teams from HKU who made it to the finals were among the winners of the top 3 prizes. However, this time, the First Prize was awarded to the team of students from HKUST.

Back to the Beginning — The Take Off

In May last year, participating students had to form teams of 3 and undergo 2 intense rounds of collaboration, brainstorming, and practice.

Additional info:

Prizes Offered

1st Prize

• Google Nexus 7 32GB Wi-Fi Tablet

• Mentorship with a senior UBS manager

• Lunch with UBS Head of Group Technology

• Guaranteed interview for the UBS Group Technology summer internship program

2nd Prize

• Mentorship with a senior UBS manager

• Lunch with UBS Head of Group Technology

3rd Prize

• Lunch with UBS Head of Group Technology


In HKU, the Challenge was open to undergraduates majoring in Engineering, Computer Science, Information Systems or related disciplines, graduating in 2015 or 2016.

The first round – write a full report based on 1 of the 2 group technology case studies offered by UBS. Below are the 2 case studies summarized:


An international firm faces communication and connectivity woes affecting daily operations and efficiency.

Propose a solution to integrate the different forms of communication (email, file sharing, social network) into a single internal communication platform.


Internal trading system of a company is becoming inadequate and outdated.

Suggest the benefits of upgrading the existing system and how this would be executed.

Although students majoring in technology-related disciplines were encouraged to participate, they were expected to apply skills from across disciplines. Marcus Ma, an engineering student from the HKU team that won the Third Prize, commented that,

“The report was a bit challenging for our group since 2 non-BBA students were involved in my team…
We got sometimes confused about what should be included in the final report…”

The Final Stage – Preparing for the 52nd Floor

“Preparing for the presentation was amazing… All the time we spent and the late nights practising for it are things I will always remember.”

As Suyash Agarwal from the Second Prize winning team from HKU commented fondly, the excitement and anticipation escalated as the teams got ready for the last and most important day of the competition.

The final round took the teams up to the 52nd floor of Two ifc, the towering office building that houses major international firms such as Bain & Company, Bank of America, and, of course, UBS.

Where the Action Took Place

Second prize winners from HKU (from left):

Lee Kyung Min, Suyash Agarwal, Vikay Narayen.

On this floor of the UBS offices, the finalists geared up for a 20-minute presentation followed by a 10-minute Q&A session, with an intimidating panel of 5 senior Group Technology managers.

Suyash can recall moments from the final round.

“As members of the HKU Campus Toastmasters Club, my teammates and I were accustomed to speaking in front of an audience and the presentation went very smoothly. During the Q&A, the UBS senior managers directed a lot of specific and realistic questions at us that made it a challenge.”

According to Vikay Narayen, who was also part of the HKU team that won the Second Prize,

“Our team missed a critical element in our proposal.”

The lack of a timeline for the execution of the team’s proposal was highlighted during the Q&A by the senior managers and may have affected the team’s outcome in the Challenge.

A word of advice to students who will take part in competitions such as these — if you want to impress the panel, the trick is in the details!

In no time, the winning teams will be returning to the UBS offices once again, to attend a lunch with the UBS managers and to kickstart the mentorship programme.

About the Author

Rishabh Rastogi

Second Year, Electronic and Communications Engineering


About the Author

Vaibhav Bahadur

Second Year, Computer Engineering

The Kid Philospher, Avid Reader, Guitar enthusiast, Cartoonist


Author: Vaibhav Bahadur

A second year student in Computer Engineering at HKU. The kid philosopher, an avid reader, guitar enthusiast and cartoonist. bahadur.vaibhav@gmail.com

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