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A team of three MBA students from Kenan-Flagler Business School took the top prize in a recent competition in Singapore for their vision of personal mobility in the year 2020.

The first-place finish earned the UNC team 10,000 Singapore dollars (about $8,000 U.S.). The UNC team beat out more than 650 international teams, including Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Indian School of Business, which finished as first and second runners-up, respectively.

The competition, called Cerebration 2013 (a combination of “cerebral” and “celebration”), was organized entirely by MBA students from the National University of Singapore Business School. The teams had to propose innovative, implementable and scalable solutions to real business challenges faced by case sponsors.

Daimler Financial Services provided the challenge for UNC’s team, Yohei Yamamoto, Masanori Udagawa and Yasuhiro Oki, all of Tokyo. With stricter regulations, sustainability concerns and the increasing density of traffic forcing vehicle manufacturers to examine their long-term business strategies, Daimler has been seeking a game-changing solution that will be the future of transport in emerging mega-cities.

The team impressed the judges with a proposal to give business people a means to enhance productivity during their commutes, instead of idling in traffic. Using the strengths of the Daimler Group (which manufactures Mercedes-Benz cars and buses), the team proposed a line of large, wi-fi-enabled vehicles to transport groups of passengers. These vehicles would also be equipped with technology to calculate the shortest travel times to their destinations.

Now in its ninth edition, the annual competition has attracted wide international interest from students and companies from Europe, Latin America, North America, Middle East and Asia.

Read more about the competition.

Published November 22, 2013.