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March 7, 2011 | by  | in News |
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The Week That Wasn’t – International Business Students’ Project an International Success

A group of second year International Business (IBUS) students from Victoria University have struck gold with a business concept they developed for an IBUS assignment.

The business plan, Womboaks, outlines a new way of obtaining scientific data about—in the long term—any number of different subjects through studies undertaken by a fleet of large boats.

In the specific case study chosen by the daring team of future business stars, the fleet was employed to study and report on the wombat. The boats use their unique maritime channels of investigation and each personally note down their findings using basic Microsoft Office software. Results are then emailed to the Victoria students who convert the raw data into a more organised format which can be presented to the class.
The team say that although there is already a great deal of information available on the Australian marsupial, studies tackled from such a drastically different perspective as a well-travelled, fiberglass hull may yield some exciting new discoveries.

Students Dan Glee, Sammy Parsies, and Jess Balgowlah became interested in this International Business paper in particular because it offers students the chance to simulate the experience of starting a business in the real international market.
“We came up with Womboaks as a sort of admission that we knew we weren’t going to be able to invent a new ‘thing’, but we knew that we could take something that already existed and come at it from a fresh, new angle,” said Glee on the inspiration for their groundbreaking new research method.

“They’re books written by boats about wombats, hence the name. A close study of wombats through the viewpoint of a little sloop or a rigid-hulled inflatable would be an incredible thing to see.”
Womboaks was put forward for the Annual Tomorrow’s Leaders of Industry (TLI) competition by lecturer Anne Burbler who thinks the concept has serious potential in the global market.
“They’ve come up with a very impressive concept. I’ve met a number of the boats that they spoke with before submitting the assignment; they really did the research and chose just the right vessels. There are two wise old yachts leading the fleet and have roped in a crack team of sea kayaks, paddle steamers, hovercrafts and a whaleboat. Admittedly the whaleboat was an interesting choice, but in the early stages of the competition’s judging it doesn’t seem to be creating any issues with the panel!”

The first prizes in the competition is a $30,000 grant from the TLI board for the group to get Womboaks into the production stages; second and third prizes are, respectively, a year’s subscription to Air New Zealand’s in-flight magzine, Kia Ora, and a free pair of Birkenstock sandals for each team member.

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