Lancaster students make national business challenge final


18 March 2019 09:23
The Lancaster University team who have reached the IBM Undergraduate Universities Business Challenge Grand Final. From left: Haotian Dong, Joe Musker, William Warwick, Ryan Gledhill, Yitao Yang
The Lancaster University team who have reached the IBM Undergraduate Universities Business Challenge Grand Final. From left: Haotian Dong, Joe Musker, William Warwick, Ryan Gledhill, Yitao Yang

A team of Lancaster University students have proven they have the perfect blend for business, reaching the Grand Final of the IBM Undergraduate Universities Business Challenge.

The five-strong finalists will battle it out with nine other sides from across the UK in the final at IBM headquarters in London on Friday, March 22.

Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) students Will Warwick, Joe Musker, Yitao Yang and Haotian Dong, along with Maths student Ryan Gledhill brewed up a successful business plan to qualify from around 200 teams from UK universities.

Will Warwick said: “I didn’t even think we would get picked to represent Lancaster, never mind reach the national finals, so I am overjoyed to get this far.

“The main thing I have learned from this is to say yes more, and to make the most of all of the opportunities LUMS has to offer, as you never know where it might take you.”

The team came through an initial six-week online business simulation, where they were tasked with running a solar panel social enterprise, before reaching their semi-final in Edinburgh.

There, they faced the challenge of setting up their own coffee shop business, designing the brand, choosing their location, developing a marketing strategy, and even acting out a proposed TV advert to promote their shop – where they mimicked TV’s The Apprentice, firing various blends of coffee before hiring the perfect candidate.

Their decisions for Rise ‘n’ Grind were put through a business simulation, with those teams who made the biggest profits over a 10-year period advancing to the Grand Final.

Team member Yitao Yang said: “It’s so amazing to make the final, and this achievement should belong to everyone who has taken part in this challenge, with our career team’s support. We share the experience and ideas together, I feel very proud of what we have done.”

Matthew Howard, Undergraduate Careers Manager at LUMS, recognised the feat of the team, and said: “Reaching the final of the University Business Challenge is a remarkable achievement, and a fantastic story for our students to be able to tell potential employers.

“Our students have demonstrated exceptional enterprise, analytics and networking skills since the challenge started last September, and have done Lancaster proud.

“I know that the team are ready and determined, and I wish them the best of luck for the final.”

Lancaster also had two other teams in the IBM Business Challenge, both of whom reached the semi-finals, ranking them among the top 20% overall. Those teams were made up of six LUMS undergraduates, one engineering student and one studying for joint-honours in Accounting, Finance and Mathematics.

The team members were: Jack Jerrard; Wiktoria Fedak; Franciso Fidalgo; Deric Yee; Daniel Boguslowicz; Rika Neumann; Julian Harrison; and Willy Pangestu.

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