Second year Business Management students fly the flag at UBC Undergraduate Challenge Grand Final
Four undergraduate students from the Business School (formerly Cass) put their skills to the test in the UK Grand Final of the Universities Business Challenge (UBC) Undergraduate Challenge.
The competition tests students’ leadership, analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as their ability to make strategic decisions. Teams are set a series of challenges that simulate the running of a business, including marketing, budgeting, pitching and selling.
The team of Connor Knights, Camilla Pezzi, Yoga Raman Mohan and Thomas Fowler qualified from regional heats and were invited to participate against 19 other university teams, virtually, in the national final where they were tasked with completing three trading periods as directors of a bioplastics company.
Assignments included bringing new products to market while looking after the balance sheet, all in the face of fictional news developments and competition threats. The team also produced video advertisements and delivered a 60-second sales pitch for a new line of bioplastic swimming hats.
Connor, a second year BSc Business Management student, said it was an exciting experience for the group.
“We worked together as a team last summer for another international competition which we managed to win, so UBC felt like a great opportunity to further refine team-working, business acumen and networking skills,” Connor said.
“The competition has taught us a lot and developed some key skills outside of our degree studies. For example, we had to work collaboratively and show resilience to overcome setbacks and move onto the next problem.
“Due to current circumstances, we were also able to develop remote networking skills that were required to function effectively as a team. This included using Slack to organise our work and having to remain fully focussed for the duration of a nine-hour Zoom call!
“The experience has given me crucial insight into the world of consultancy, and will definitely benefit me with my future career and employment prospects.”
Camilla, a second year BSc Business with Finance student, said the finance and analytical skills she was able to enhance during the competition will complement her degree and demonstrate transferrable skills.
“The Universities Business Challenge has allowed me to show key aptitudes in time-management, organisation and decision-making, as well as business-specific skills in marketing and finance,” Camilla said.
“I still have a very open mind with regards to my career direction, so I’m trying to gain as much experience as possible in order to understand what I enjoy most and where my skillsets lie.
“The competition has brought out my strength and enjoyment of numbers, and really allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to take part.”
Dr Martin Rich, Senior Lecturer and Course Director of the BSc Business Management Programme at the Business School (formerly Cass), said although the students did not ultimately win the competition, the business and employability skills that they picked up along the way will benefit their studies and career prospects.
“The team displayed a highly impressive level of work in a pressured environment,” Dr Rich said.
“Flexibility in these uncertain times is key to any successful professional, and Connor, Camilla, Yoga and Thomas were all able to collaborate effectively across different time zones and motivate each other to complete several difficult business tasks in the space of a few hours.
“We like to encourage all students to participate in competitions, and broaden their technical skills outside of lectures and tutorials. UBC tested the team’s creativity and marketing prowess, as well as financial control under time constraints.
“They have all performed very well and can be proud of what they achieved.”