Solving challenges for leading global companies

Three FAU students successfully took part in the European JEBE Business Game in Pisa

Solving problems for big world leading companies like Luxottica, Generali Group or Asso Werke  – a challenge that can already be faced during the studies. Lara Đelević, Akshat Sharma and Fatima Tanvir are studying for a Master’s degree in Advanced Materials and Processes at FAU. In November 2022, they took part in the JEBE Business Games organized by the EELISA partner university Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa. Over 80 students from all over Europe competed against each other to solve challenges that employees of leading companies actually face: long-term sustainability, using the power of data to optimize supply chains or strategies to attract new customers.  The winners received special goodies and the chance to win internships or even job offers.

“We became aware of the event through the LinkedIn page of EELISA and then applied to the EELISA partner university in Pisa and were selected,” explains Lara. With their participation, the three students also received EELISA funding that covered travel and accommodation costs.

Lara, Akshat and Fatima participated in the Luxottica Business Game. „Luxottica is known for designing, manufacturing and distributing eyeglass lenses, frames and sunglasses. The company owns many luxury brands such as RayBan, Oakley and Persol, and manufactures products under license for designer labels such as Chanel, Prada and Versace,” explains Akshat.

Senior sales manager presented their challenge to the students: The Company had set up „Smart Shoppers” at their in-person stores to enable customers to view and order glass frames not available at the store. By doing so, the customers get an „endless aisle” of product options, which they can also customize.

The challenge was about creating a model, using the data from their Smart Shopper in order to predict trends in frame sales and identify those in demand that should be sent to the stores. In that way, the company can maximize sales and customer satisfaction, while preventing wasteful manufacturing and distribution.

“We worked together with students from various universities in each of the challenges. We had two to three hours to solve a problem, and then present the solution in front of a jury. We were also expected to answer their questions”, explains Lara.

„We proposed a simple idea: using a 4-case matrix which explains the connection between browsing time and purchase decisions to predict sales. A frame that was browsed for a short time and still purchased by the customer, meant that it was clearly in demand. On the other hand, a frame that had a long browsing time but resulted in no purchase meant that although the frame was well liked, the price was a bit too high. So the company can immediately know which knobs to turn – set the right price and produce the right quantity “, says Fatima. The jury was impressed by the simplicity and accuracy of the solution and chose the FAU team as the winner. “We were thrilled by the jury’s decision. We also interacted with representatives of Luxottica and they were very enthusiastic to explore opportunities for internships for us. We also submitted our CVs to them”, Akshat continues.