Construction Management Students Make the Finals of the CIOB Global Student Challenge, 2018

CIOB Competition Winners

Blago Blagoev, Professor, Angelo DelZotto School of Construction Management

Apr 26, 2018

Doan (Lucas) Dang, Nick Lourenco, and Mike Lino, 4th-year degree students at the Angelo DelZotto School of Construction Management, are one of only six teams world-wide to book their place in the finals of the Global Student Challenge, organized by the Chartered Institute of Building in the UK (CIOB).

This terrific trio beat competition from another 53 prestigious universities from the UK, Australia, the US, China, and Hong Kong to place 3rd overall after the qualifying rounds. They are the only North American finalists as well as the only college among the Top 6.

Lucas, Nick, and Mike are mentored by Andrew Gordon, faculty at the School, a practicing construction management consultant, and a CIOB Fellow.

The Global Student Challenge Finals will be held in Toronto from July 8 to July 12, as part of the CIOB 2018 Members Forum, a series of events aimed at exchanging industry knowledge, strategy and information.

The Challenge itself is based on the MERIT software, a game-like simulation developed in the UK, which allows students to run their own virtual construction company and compete for projects against other competitors and their companies. The simulation exposes students to areas such as financing, HR, estimating, bidding, project management, and even marketing.

Under the leadership of Clint Kissoon, Chair of the Angelo DelZotto School of Construction Management, and with the help of Blago Blagoev,Tom Stephenson and Elmira Nezami Far, faculty at the School, the MERIT simulation is now part of the curriculum in the Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management.

Here are the finalists in their own words:

BB: What was your first reaction when you saw that you qualified for the Finals?

ML: Around 8 o’clock in the morning I got a phone call from Nick, all excited, “Hey, guess what?” I was still half-asleep, so I said “What do you want, man? I just woke up.” He goes “We made it to the FINALS!!!” Woke me up right away.

DLD: I also received the same phone call from Nick. He said that if I went back to Vietnam for the summer, I need to pack up and drive over from Vietnam to Canada in July to make sure I can attend the Finals. Not sure I can drive over, but I’ll definitely be here for it.

NL: I was just really proud of us, looking at the standings and all the other universities. We are the only college and we were able to get into the Top 3.

BB: As you mentioned, you are the only team to qualify from North America and the only team from a college rather than a university. What does this speak about the quality of George Brown students?

ML: It is humbling to know that we beat out some of the greatest universities in the world, let alone North America. It’s a global competition that really shows the value of the students who do make it to the Finals.

BB: How did you manage to achieve this in what has been a very busy semester? What was your secret in terms of time management, maintaining performance at this level?

NL: I’d have to say that it was all three of us being able to come together and decide who was going to do which role. How we can blend them together and make a decision. So yes, someone had to do the Overheads, someone had to do the Financing, someone had to do Construction, and someone had to do Estimating and Bidding, but when we came together in our group meetings, everyone knew exactly how we were going to make a decision, and we went from there.

BB: For your mentor you have Andrew Gordon, faculty at the College and an experienced construction management consultant. How has his experience and guidance helped you so far?

ML: We would usually have about four, five different plans of action that we can go through with. We’d have our score for each of those plans, and how it would affect us three or four rounds later on. We’d bring that to our mentor, and then he’d look over everything and he’d say, “You know what, between these plans, this one, I don’t like it. Between these three, these are pretty good ones. Whatever you guys want to go with, these are your best options.” It was just a collaborative approach that I think worked very well.

BB: Do you think the integration of this simulation software in the curriculum would make it easier for students to get more engaged in learning about how to manage a construction company if we compare it to more traditional teaching?

ML: For sure. It’s not just that it is a competition. It was fun, and it was very informative. We did have a good time playing.

BB: Lucas, do you think that this would attract more students to the construction management degree when they know that they can actually take part in a simulation to run their own virtual construction company?

DLD: I have an opportunity to volunteer for the School to welcome high school students. If their parents own a construction company, they sometimes ask if they should go to business school or if they should do Construction Management at George Brown. I encourage them to study at George Brown. Right now, implementing this MERIT software in the School, I think it will be a huge advantage compared to universities.