Blues in for a Game Changer

Rugby players are in for quite a change after they leave the field, having to shift their focus from a world dominated by the sport to something new. As retirement from rugby is inevitable, it’s important for them to think ahead and plan their future, professionally and financially.

BNZ and The Icehouse have partnered with Deloitte to support Blues players interested in small business management. The players spent Thursday afternoon in our Queen Street offices improving their business acumen. Research by the NZRPA shows around 15% of players end up owning a business.

The Game Changer is an interactive business simulation game based on an existing business. For this event the players were split into four different groups and, supported by specialists from Deloitte and BNZ, worked through different scenarios affecting the million-dollar SME producing a top-notch berry jam over a period of two years. The players’ decisions will determine the enterprise value and the team with the most valuable business at the end of the game, wins.

To hedge or not to hedge

“The game helps the players develop different kinds of muscles,” says BNZ’s Cam Wallace, who set up the game together with The Icehouse to help entrepreneurs learn about the effects of different business decisions that they will face within their own companies. The Icehouse CEO Andrew Hamilton explains: “Business owners often make decisions alone, but adults learn much better when they talk to each other and they can take the learnings back to the firm.”

The Blues Personal Development Manager, Victoria Hood was delighted with the learning outcomes. “Our players want to learn more about business,” she says. “The session stressed the importance of leadership, informed decision-making, collaborating with and investing in people and valuing innovation and resources. All of these qualities are used in rugby but can be applied within business too.” A few of the players did have a slight competitive advantage: they spent some time with Deloitte last year in a business course and came up with their own business ideas.

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The challenges the Blues faced ranged from human resources to marketing to money management. And while trying to stay ahead of the other teams is in the Blues’ DNA, the fast pace of the game might have taken them aback at times: trying to decide between two different kinds of loans within seconds requires some quick thinking, and currency hedging might not be something they take into consideration on a daily basis.

What to do with all that cash

Presenter Hamilton put the players on the spot a few times, asking them to defend their decisions after the annual and quarterly meetings. Should the business invest in new systems, or save the money and manage with what they have? “Efficiency gives you money,” says Blues player Matt Moulds. Our bankers would most likely agree.

Photo 7In the end it’s Jimmy Tupou, Rieko Ioane, and Jordan Trainer who walk away with the prize. Revenue is up and staff are happy, and the Blues have gotten a good idea of what it takes to run a business. Are they ready to get started? Let’s tackle the next game first.

Interested in the Game Changer? Contact one of our bankers to learn more!