Grass Routes Business Challenge winners from 2008

The Exeter team with their trophy

Business School team wins competition

A team of students from the University Of Exeter Business School has won the national Smith and Williamson Grass Routes Business Challenge, held at the Royal Agricultural College on 18 November. The Grass Routes Business Challenge is a one day business competition, run by Smith & Williamson, the accountancy and financial services group, in partnership with The Grocer and the Royal Agricultural College. The winning team was presented with a cheque for £600 to spend on a team building event.

Will Merton-Jones, Tom Coyte, Daniel Borchert, Steph Ley, Rachel Trusler and Ben Marchant successfully convinced the judging panel that their business solution for an agricultural company was the best compared with those offered by other teams. The Exeter team secured its victory in a head to head final against Reading University, fielding some grilling questions from the panel of industry experts at a surprise press conference. The team had to explain how their business would respond to the sudden announcement that oil priced had suddenly rocketed to $250 per barrel and electricity supplies were to be cut to 3 days per week with immediate effect.

Thomas Coyle of the Exeter team said “Tiring, enormously challenging but great fun! We are absolutely thrilled to win this Business Challenge! The case studies were tough but the direction and advice we received from the industry experts was fantastic. I cannot believe how much we learned in such a short time. Thank you to everyone, I cannot wait for next year.”

Nine teams of students from some of the UK’s top universities and agricultural colleges participated in the competition. They were given a real life business scenario and six hours to find a solution. At the end of the day, the teams presented their solutions to a judging panel including representatives from the Grocer Magazine, HSBC, Asda, The Crown Estate, Cranfield School of Management, English Farming and Food Partnership, the Institute of Grocery Distribution, the Nuffield Foundation, Ginsters and Warburtons.

Date: 21 November 2008

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