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We are pleased to announce that the Timetable for MERIT 2018 has been finalised.
MERIT 2018 has been set up to model a construction industry operating in an economy emerging from a recession with up to date bank interest rates and charges and current corporation tax. Learning to survive as a construction business in tough market conditions with fierce competition is the knowledge currently needed by our industry executives.
After completing eight rounds simulating two years of trading the top six teams will be invited to Loughborough University to experience a further two years of simulated trading in the MERIT 2018 final, the winning team will be presented with the ICE’s Silver Salver, £5000 cash prize and named the 2018 MERIT Champion.
- Nov 2017 - 21 Feb 2018
- Jan 2017 - 01 Mar 2018
- Round 1 - Thursday 01 Mar 2018
- Round 2 - Thursday 08 Mar 2018
- Round 3 - Thursday 15 Mar 2018
- Round 4 - Thursday 22 Mar 2018
- Round 5 - Thursday 29 Mar 2018
- Round 6 - Thursday 05 Apr 2018
- Round 7 - Thursday 12 Apr 2018
- Round 8 - Thursday 19 Apr 2018
Final at Loughborough University
- 17 & 18 May 2018
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Atkins China's team from Hong Kong, PM Kids, triumphed in the MERIT management game at Loughborough University on Friday and received the coveted trophy from ICE President Tim Broyd, after the most closely fought MERIT final in 27 years.
Numerous leaderboard changes
There were three different leaders over the two-day final at Loughborough University, which comprised 8 rounds of the construction business game. After the online phase to determine the six finalist teams, CEG, a team from Hong Kong Drainage Services Department started the final in first place and held that for two rounds only to be overtaken by OVErachievers, a team from Arup London. OVErachievers had stormed up from fifth position at the start of the final to take first place after only three rounds and looked to have the momentum. They held the lead for three rounds to be overtaken by PM Kids in the third last round and PM Kids held on to win. PM Kids had previously shown their promise in the early rounds where they were leaders for some time before being replaced by CEG but they recovered when it mattered!
Close qualifying rounds
The very competitive final was set up by the six finalists all qualifying over the 12 preceding rounds for the final with only 9% separating the top and bottom teams – exceedingly close in the history of the MERIT game. Given the increased competition where teams are competing directly with each other and also have the ability to invest in each other's companies it promised to be a close run final and so it was.
Tim Broyd, ICE President who attended the final said:
"This was an intense final to what is already a very competitive and challenging tournament; the stress, anxiety, delight, and sheer hard work is there for all to see. These are some special engineers and this business experience will surely help them to develop into senior management roles and lead our business and our sector forward; their creativity and brains are going to be in great demand, to overcome some of the huge challenges we as a society face."
And a quote from the winning team.
"I feel wonderful, it's like a dream. It's very exciting. We didn't expect we would be first, so were quite calm yesterday. Once we knew we might have a chance, then we started to get nervous, and excited." Isabella Chen, PM Kids, Atkins China (Winner)
"We really appreciate that we got the chance to join this game, and everything went well, and we learned a lot from it." Isabella Chen, PM Kids, Atkins China (Winner)
"It was extremely hard and I'm a bit disappointed by the results. Overall it was a really good experience; we got to know each other, we got to work together in a very collaborative way." Oveacheviers (2nd overall)
"MERIT was definitely a very good competition for a civil engineer. We mostly do technical work, at our end, so this is more management. We definitely gained management skills, teamworking, plus time management" Innograds
The winning Team was presented with the ICE engraved Silver Salver and a £5,000 cash prize donated by CIOB. The runners up received a £1,000 cash prize donated by CITB.
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The top six are still there but cracks are starting to show. 'PM Kids' from Atkins China remain top but by only 65 points from 'CEG'. Arup's 'OVEachievers' climb three places to third to consolidate their claim for a place in the final. Atkins India's 'That Team' drop one place and 'The Team with no name' stays put at 5th. Waterman's 'Waterman is coming' slip two places to sixth and are only in the top six by four points, it doesn't get any closer. 'Waterman is coming' will need their full concentration to keep their place. I cannot imagine they'll get much real work done this week as they calculate how to defend their position!
Less than two hundred points separate the top six that is close. Outside the top positions there are a number that could well make it. The highest percentage improvement in the leading teams was 19% this round the lowest was 7% a difference of 12%. That difference takes you do to virtually position twenty. So there is still scope for some change at the top. It's tense and you can feel it.
There are a cluster of teams just outside the top places who can still threaten so the top six will try to dig in. Past data suggests that teams in the top twenty at this stage could well disturb the rankings. With one round to go there is some tension in both the top teams defending their position and the chasers still chasing. The positions may well change but it's impossible to predict. Experience suggests that the chasers will take the biggest risks in their pursuit for top place. The top six will probably check everything many times to ensure that they don't make a last minute silly mistake. Lower down everyone is still trying to improve their final position. There is some satisfaction in generating an improvement at this stage.
Will the teams pass this stress test.
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Congratulations to Atkins India, who have retained the Sponsors Award after a very close battle with Atkins China.
The Finalists are also now decided.
Squeezed out in the final round were Waterman's 'Waterman is coming' slipping from 6th to 9th place. Rising to fill the gap in the top six are Atkins India's 'INNOGRADS' rising from7th to 4th.
At the very top are 'CEG' replacing Atkins China's 'P M Kids' who slip to 3rd but still competing in the Final.
Tim Broyd, President of the ICE and Alan Crane Past President of CIOB will attend the final to present certificates to the finalists, the Silver Salver and the cash prize.
The record shows that, more often than not, the team in first place at this stage fails to become champion, although last year the leading team did go onto win. We have also experienced the winner coming through from sixth place.
Remarkably only 359 points separate the top place from the sixth place. It has never been this close. 359 points can disappear in one round and there are eight rounds in the Final. The Final is more competitive with teams competing against each other as well as the simulation, this generates more turbulence and with the teams so closely packed any of the top six can win.
Given the points score of the finalists and another eight rounds of an even more competitive competition under severe time pressure any team can win. We look forward to the tension and excitement of the battle to come. All we can promise is the final will be competitive with the high motivation of all six finalists.
Many teams put in fine performances and we trust all the teams who didn't make the final enjoyed the MERIT 2017 competition and the training experience in company, business and financial management, together with the experience of the need for team work and leadership to deliver disciplined decision making. MERIT has a record of raising aspirations and influencing future training and development as individuals think about what role in the industry they aspire too. The advice in taking part was to think like a director, act like a director. If you liked the role then set out to train to be a director. The industry needs leaders.
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The top six have had a quick shuffle. Atkins China's P.M.Kids and CEG with no sponsor remain first and second. Atkins India's 'That Team' rise by one to third, Waterman's 'Waterman is coming' rise to two places to fourth. Atkins India's 'A team with no name' slip two places to fifth and Arup's 'OVErachievers' slip one to cling onto sixth, care will be needed to stay there. Just outside the top six the big mover was Arup's 'SupernOVAs' rising six places to eighth need to watch they don't simply replace their colleagues. Also rising is Highways England's 'Didn't he do well' Slightly further back big upward movers include Mott MacDonald's 'Mott MacDonald Sheffield' and SWECO's 'Pro SWECO'. It can be done and the top six aren't secure yet. It's time for the chasers to be courageous.
One thing to keep an eye on is the market conditions. If the spend on marketing in the right sectors isn't adequate it will result in fewer jobs to bid for. If the market is tightening this could be significant. This is just one factor. All the others need controlling as well: head office staffing, estimating effort, bids, project manager selection, project staffing, company capital, borrowings, investments, dividends, retained profits. They all matter; no one said a director's job was easy. Enjoy the challenge.
With two rounds to go, at this stage some successful decisions get described as heroic and inspirational, other less successful ones as simply foolhardy.
Maybe it's time to put your cards on the table.