Case competition: How do you capture the African beer market?

As part of the annual case competition in Applied Economics Consulting, students from Aarhus BSS have analysed how Novozymes are to best expand in the African beer market. Novozymes values the students’ analyses and recommendations, which were presented to them at an event Thursday 9 September.

[Translate to English:] Begge vinderhold
[Translate to English:] Begge vinderhold på plads hos Novozymes. Foto: Nikolaj Fabricius Stryhn, Novozymes
[Translate to English:] Transtainable Consulting Group
[Translate to English:] Transtainable Consulting Group: Andreas Tegam Mortensen, Marc Olsen, Dichellie Rosendahl, Anne Sofie Bjørn-Thygesen og Sofus Søndergaard Foto: Aarhus BSS Kommunikation og Eksterne Relationer
[Translate to English:] The Consultancy Lab
[Translate to English:] The Consultancy Lab: Martin Gasbjerg Erichsen, Maria Løkkegaard Laursen, Frederik Secher Christensen, Yuzhen Chen og Martin Haisler Nielsen Foto: Aarhus BSS Kommunikation og Eksterne Relationer

“To a company living on innovation such as Novozymes, it is incredibly important to be open to new ideas from the outside world. Because of this importance, connect to create is a fundamental value at our company. The students’ approach and choice of tools for analysis have inspired us to think in new ways, and we have definitely benefited from the collaboration,” says Nikolaj Fabricius Stryhn, Strategy Consultant in Corporate Strategy Development at Novozymes.

During the spring semester, the students on the degree programme in International Economic Consulting from the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus BSS have worked hard in the role as consultants to help the enzyme company Novozymes perform an analysis of the best strategy for expanding in the Sub-Saharan African beer market. This collaboration was part of a case competition which concluded with the two winning teams – Transtainable Consulting Group and The Consultancy Lab – presenting their analyses to Novozymes Thursday 9 September.

“It feels a little crazy and really awesome to stand in front of key figures from Novozymes and present the results of all your hard work. In my view, that is a huge payoff in itself,” says Anne Sofie Bjørn-Thygesen from Transtainable Consulting Group.

“It has been very exciting to face such a huge challenge and to wrap your head around a case like this. We felt we had knowledge of the beer market beforehand, but we knew nothing about enzymes or the process of brewing beer. To become experts in such a small amount of time, we have had to familiarise ourselves with even the smallest details of these areas,” Anne Sofie continues.

The other members of her team were Andreas Tegam Mortensen, Marc Olsen, Dichellie Rosendahl and Sofus Søndergaard, who all quickly adapted to the role as consultants.

“Soon, we began to feel like a real consultancy firm. The experience was very realistic in that we had to come up with a name, logo and job title. On our own initiative, we did some team building exercises to define who we were as a team and to improve our team spirit,” says Anne Sofie.

“The special thing about this course is that we get to make many decisions ourselves. We defined the set-up of the task and how far we wanted to take it on our own. For instance, the team has been responsible for deciding which statistical models we wanted to use, how far back in time we wanted to perform our analysis and how many countries we wanted to include. We were taught these tools during the first year of our degree programme, and now, it was time to gather everything we had learned and use it in the real world,” explains Anne Sofie.

Both winning teams concluded that the countries which hold the greatest potential for Novozymes are Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya. These countries need enzymes for beer brewing the most. For this reason, the winning teams recommended Novozymes to start here if they want to capture the Sub-Saharan beer market.

“We are very impressed by the general level of competency the students have demonstrated and by the depth of their analyses,” says Nikolaj Fabricius Stryhn, who is pleased with the output of the collaboration.

Real value for both parties

According to Maria Løkkegaard Laursen from The Consultancy Lab, the opportunity to work with an authentic case from a real company is a big plus on the degree programme in International Economic Consulting.

“It is the cherry on top: The fact that our output would hold value for a real company and that we were working towards a meaningful goal generated motivation through the entire project,” says Maria Løkkegaard Laursen.

Maria were truly looking forward to presenting their analysis for Novozymes together with the rest of her team, which included Martin Gasbjerg Erichsen, Frederik Secher Christensen, Yuzhen Chen and Martin Haisler Nielsen. 

“We have spent a lot of hours on the project, so it feels amazing to be able to present our work. Hopefully, our contribution can create value for Novozymes,” says Maria.

Nikolaj Fabricius Stryhn can only agree.

“The students’ analyses and recommendations will be valuable to us in several areas. We can integrate their specific analyses in our understanding and assessment of Africa as a country with growth potential for Novozymes, and their way of approaching the case can be of inspiration in terms of the way we work. We are particularly impressed by their quantitative approach to market analysis,” says Nikolaj Fabricius Stryhn.

In addition to the specific recommendations and the inspiration generated by the case competition, he and Novozymes deem the collaboration with the Department of Economics and Business Economics and Aarhus BSS to have further benefits.

“Novozymes is a biotech company who lives on innovation. In order to stay a leading figure on a global level, we not only need the best biochemical engineers in the world, we also need highly skilled workers across our entire organisation. Our collaboration with the Department of Economics and Business Economics and Aarhus BSS provides us with insight into new tools and working methods, but more importantly, it gives us access to some of the most talented students in Denmark,” says William Wennerberg, Vice President of Business Finance at Novozymes.


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