IBM University Business Challenge finalists 08

Our finalists

Surviving the Challenge

For the third year running, The School of Business and Economics will be represented in the final of the IBM University Business Challenge, to be held at IBM's Bedfont Lakes offices in Middlesex on 7th March 2008.

The team, consisting of team leader Laura Hassan, Catherine Locke, Benjamin Russell and Edward Jenkins, emerged as winners of their semi-final held at BAE Systems in Farnborough on February 7th and will contest the final with the winners of eight other semi-finals, plus the highest scoring runners-up.

The Challenge is a business simulation competition for teams of up to five undergraduate students and is initially competed on-line. The teams act as management consultants who have to improve the performance of their given business over six ‘trading periods’ both in financial terms and taking into account other performance indicators such as acquiring new business, improving customer satisfaction and satisfying the needs of other stakeholders such as suppliers and employees. The teams are given information about their company's situation and trading position as well as external factors which will affect their prospects and are required to make decisions about the running of the company and input these on-line.

The best performing teams from the 252 who entered the competition are then invited to one of nine live regional semi-finals from which the ten finalists are then selected. The final is another live event in which the teams will have to make key decisions against the clock, and with a first prize of £1,000 they have an extra incentive to make sure that they get the decisions right.

The School has a proud track record in the Challenge; in each of the last three years of the competition we have had three teams through to the semi-final stage. In 2006 one team went through to the finals and a year later an unprecedented three teams reached the final, one of whom were runners-up.

The School's Employability Co-ordinator, Jill Williams, accompanied the School's teams at their semi-finals said of the competition, “The IBM UBC offers students at SoBE a unique opportunity to put their academic learning in to practice and develop critical employability skills such as team work, leadership and decision making in a competitive environment.  The simulations are very realistic and really test the students’ business acumen and their ability to work under pressure.  For those students that make it to the semi finals and beyond, the competition also offers a great opportunity to meet and network with top graduate employers and find out more about the opportunities that are available to them.  Students who get involved with the competition really gain a lot from it”.

Date: 14 February 2008

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