The final was held at Loughborough University last month, and the team, PM Kids, received the coveted trophy from ICE President Tim Broyd. The final was the most closely fought in MERIT's 27 years.
Numerous leader board changes
The lead changed hands three times 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.
ICE President Tim Broyd 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."
Isabella Chen, from winning team PM Kids said:
"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. We really appreciate that we got the chance to join this game, and everything went well, and we learned a lot from it."
Other participants were full of praise for the competition, hailing the chance to learn new skills including people management, teamwork and time management.
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.
MERIT (Management, Enterprise, Risk, Innovation and Teamwork) is a web-based computer simulation game competition that runs annually from February to May. It allows young professionals, working in groups and acting as a board of directors and managers, to run their own virtual construction company. The early rounds are played remotely against a computer and then the top six teams (of this year's 126 entries) enter the finals at Loughborough University, where they compete against each other.