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Students show their flair at the 2013 Red Rose Business Weekend

26 March 2013

Students from across the University came head to head last month at Lancaster University Management School in the annual Red Rose Business Weekend, impressing the judges from IBM and Saatchi & Saatchi with the quality and ingenuity of their ideas.

The event, now in its third year, was sponsored by the two companies and by LUMS itself, and was organised for the School by its student society LUMSA.

Open to students across Lancaster University, both undergraduate and postgraduate, the competition attracted applications from 17 teams, ten of which were selected to take part in the event.

Responding to business challenges

At the heart of the weekend were two business challenges set by the sponsoring companies, which made demands on the students’ creativity, flair and business acumen.

In the Smarter Commerce task from IBM, the teams were asked for ideas on how to revolutionise the way in which people engage in the shopping experience. This links with the company’s ongoing initiatives to extend the creative use of technology within retailing to mould customer experience and provide solutions.

Saatchi & Saatchi’s challenge required students to reflect on a particular social, political or economic issue, and, as a means of addressing that, to come up with ways of using advertising or integrated communications to help extinguish apathy and ignite change.

In both cases the ideas generated by the students have been taken back by the companies for further in-house discussion.‌

Event winners

The overall event was won by Team Synergy, a cross-disciplinary team which drew together the talents of four second-year students: Daniel Bailey (Business Studies), Daniel Purchese (Computer Science) and George Harrington and Joshua Mukwamba-Sendall (both Law).

The judges gave the award for ‘Outstanding Entrepreneurship’ to second-year BBA student Rory Peyton Jones, on the strength of his contributions throughout the weekend. Rory was a member of the team that came second.

Paul Peck, Senior Business Analytics and Optimisation Consultant at IBM, said: "The weekend was an all-round great success. There were fantastic innovative ideas and solutions from all of the students involved, and the level of enthusiasm and participation by all was exceptional.

"I think I speak for all the IBM team who attended when I say it was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting experience and we look forward to future events with LUMS and to helping those students pursue their careers with us and beyond."

Learning and networking

Rounded off with a champagne reception and awards dinner, the weekend also provided plenty of opportunities for students to network with representatives from the two companies, and to learn more about their activities and the range of potential career opportunities.

Olly Heron, a second-year Advertising and Marketing student who is currently chair of LUMSA, said:

“Our sponsors taught the participants to think big, and be bold enough to express powerful ideas. It has changed the way I view both companies, and the way I view business.

“Having the opportunity to run the Red Rose Business Weekend is without a doubt the most exciting activity I have undertaken at university so far. It took just over four months of planning, but standing in the Midland Hotel on Saturday night as we applauded the winners and discussed what people had learnt during the process – it was worth every moment.”

“Events like this are an ideal complement to our teaching as they provide a great way for our students to show employers just what they are capable of,” said Professor Linda Hendry, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Teaching at LUMS, who opened the event.

“Embedded in all our teaching, in the Management School and across Lancaster University as a whole, is a strong focus on employability skills and on ensuring that students have not only really sound academic knowledge but also the understanding, awareness and skills needed to apply it. This event demonstrated that very powerfully – and was a credit to the students who organised it.”

 Selection of images from the weekend showing students taking part in activities