NBS Students Cruise into the University Business Challenge 2016 Semi-Finals – By Kieran Earley

Having set an initial target of going the extra mile while studying for my degree in the final year, I was made aware of The University Business Challenge via an email sent out during the first week of term last year. This wasn’t the first time I had heard of The University Business Challenge – it is a prestigious competition for students with a passion for business across the United Kingdom. Not only this, but due to the recent success of UEA students reaching the semi-finals in the previous years in 2014 and 2015, I felt it was a welcome addition to my CV if I managed to gather a team. I wasn’t the only one aware I was reaching the ‘business end’ of my degree, my housemates studying similar courses were keen to get involved when I mentioned it to them. After quick contemplation, myself and three other NBS students: Owen Mathias, Nicholas Ward and Tom Quigley were ready to tackle the challenge. We decided to avoid The Apprentice clichéd team names and as a result ‘House House College Rd’ was formed…

At the start of the first round, the assurance of a group of male third-years was strong. However, this most definitely was not the case by the end of the round. This part of the competition involved a computer simulation in which we ran a business selling environmentally-friendly products. Tasks had to be allocated to each member of the team – already tackling a variety of competencies such as leadership, teamwork and delegation. We had to discuss significant internal and external factors from week to week before making key decisions which decided our profit at the end of each period. Although I hadn’t realised at the time, the convenience of each team member living in the same house paid dividends. We ended up deliberating before university at breakfast, texting in our house Whatsapp group during university, before continuing once again at dinner after university. But without fail we would still find ourselves having not submitted decisions right up until the final deadline!

Receiving the results each week was a tense moment in our household. We seemed to have been pitted against four other high performing universities out of a group of eight, while the bottom three dwindled and took heavy losses on board. Unfortunately, there was only two semi-finalist places. My housemates and I were forced to keep plugging away each week overthinking many decisions. In many ways this was great for us as we developed as a team as the weeks went on, and got stronger in our decision-making process. When it seemed in doubt in the final week, we made some great decisions and pulled it out of the bag, just squeezing into the semi-final spots. I am really looking forward to seeing how we develop as a team (and as mates!) when we head to Sheffield University on 7th March 2016 for The University Business Challenge Semi-Finals.

 NBS have another team in this year’s semi-finals led by last year’s semi-finalist Toyosi Oni. Toyosi is now battle hardened after narrowly missing out on the final by 3 points out of 1000. Toyosi will be competing at the other semi-final held in London on the 9th March.

Director of Employability, Graham Manville passionately believes that competing in competitions sharpens those vital employability skills. All of the contestants from previous years have now established themselves in graduate roles.

Many Thanks to Kieran Earley, Final Year Accounting and Finance Student, for contributing to the NBS blog.

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