Hello USE Blog readers!
It’s been a while since my last post (apologies for that)! I have however, been extremely busy supporting our students to do great things! One of them being the University Business Challenge (UBC) – previously IBM Business Challenge. Some of you may remember that way back in September last year, we recruited our teams, by putting them through a rigorous selection process, whereby students ran their own pizza company (simulated of course). The winning teams were selected and went on to represent the USE during the qualifying rounds, and after six weeks of intensive trading periods, all five teams secured their place in the semi-finals. This included a special guest appearance from a team that possibly travelled the furthest to get here – all the way from Thessaloniki, Greece! Now, some of you may recall that our wonderfully gifted and talented students won the national competition last year, bringing home the trophy which took pride of place in our display cabinet, with all the other amazing recognitions. Due to that incredible achievement, we hosted the semi-finals right here at The Octagon (some of you might be familiar with this building – the nail biting moment of exams), 200 students from various universities across the UK came along to take part in the day, all competing for the opportunity to participate in the finals.
I would like to take this opportunity to state that it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts – and it’s true! Out of 300 teams entering the challenge this year, only 40 teams made it through to the semi’s, that alone is a great achievement. I would like to take another opportunity to state that although it’s great taking part, winning is an incredible feeling! Only the top four teams of the day would make it through to the finals and our team came in third place (the Management School came in second)!!! As you can imagine, I felt like a proud mother and could not wipe the Cheshire smile that was plastered on my face when the announcement was made. That being said, the day was incredibly challenging as teams were asked to brainstorm ideas for a sustainable business with a strong social impact. With only 20 minutes on the clock, the ideas flowed and the energy in the room crackled.
After a series of rounds tackling various business processes, we finally got to hear the ideas the students came up with, their 1 minute pitch to peers and university advisors, scoring each team out of 20. Some of my personal favourites included ‘Eco-Wear’, a clothing business designed to reduce landfill, and ‘Rentallot’ which engaged pensioners in gardening by renting out allotments to produce seasonal veg boxes. Credit where it’s due, I take my hat off to everyone who made it to the semi-finals. Universities should be proud that they are nurturing some of the best minds and talent out there, and it was truly a pleasure to see so much passion and determination, students from different departments and faculties working together, pooling resources and knowledge, inspiring and achieving. I hope that we continue to support these kinds of programmes and encourage all of you to push your comfort zones and realise your hidden potential. Business competitions are not just for management students but for anyone wishing to be creative and proactive.
I am so looking forward to the finals which take place at the IBM Head Office in Southbank, London on Thursday 17th March – keep a watchful eye out for how we get on (say a prayer and cross your fingers and toes)! Either way, it’s going to be adrenaline fuelled and awesome!!!