Strategic thinking whisked to a frenzy at the Great Cass Bake Off 2019
Full time MBA students compete in the annual Great Cass Bake Off as part of their Strategy Module, led by Couse Director Dr Paolo Aversa.
After Course Director Dr Paolo Aversa briefed the competitors on the rules of the challenge, the cohort of more than 80 students set to work preparing cakes with randomly assigned ingredients and no recipe to consult.
Competitors were able to buy ingredients from outside the preparation arena and trade ingredients with each other and the competition chef; the purchase of packet mix cakes and similar was strictly forbidden.
Chopping, mixing and heating stations were available around the arena and had to be 'booked' by students, ensuring they strategised their time management.
Dr Paolo Aversa said the Great Cass Bake Off is designed to test the students' application of everything they have learned in the MBA Strategy Module.
"Each table and each team in the competition represents a company in the business world," he said.
"They will all have their own strengths and weaknesses and they need to discuss with each other and strategise to come up with the best cake.
"We give them the regulations that they must operate within, then it's up to them to figure out the rest and deliver their best product within the allocated timeframe."
For those not experienced in the world of baking, advice could be sought from the resident Cass chef.
As in the world of business, advice, whether from a chef or any other consultant, comes at a price — in the Great Cass Bake Off that price was ingredients.
Each piece of advice sought from the chef cost competitors an ingredient; the more valuable the advice the more valuable the payment required.
Creating their cake batter was only one part of the students' challenge, they also had to provide cooking and decorating instructions to the chef.
Some students chose to use the ingredients they were provided with in their decorations while others went for a more extravagant approach.
Two days after preparing their batter and instructions for the Cass chef the students gathered at the Cass Executive Education Campus where a panel was assembled to judge the cake on three factors: Taste, Decoration and Innovation.
Each team then had one minute to deliver a pitch on their strategy to both their fellow students and the judging panel.
While most of the cakes were well received, others were not.
But at the end of the judging process, there could only be one winning team.
And the winning recipe?
A lemon poppyseed cake created by team members: Erin Harder, Yi Han Liu, Davy Rodden, Max Schreier, Roberto Paschoal and Vishal Verma.
Congratulations to the winners!