Learning to work as a team, keep calm and share the load
In March 2016, we, along with the Careers team, supported four students to represent Lancaster at the National Apprentice Challenge. The team, Dmitrii Ishutin, Anais, Adley Chan and Christopher Scanlon had already proved their aptitude for competitions after taking home third place during FLUX 2016 and we were more than happy to support them to take on another challenge together. Here’s their take on the experience.
On 12th-13th March 2016 Lancaster University students, supported by Careers and the Enterprise Team, and sponsored by Santander Universities, took part in the National Apprentice Challenge 2016 held in Birmingham at Aston University. This year, teams from more than 20 UK universities participated in the competition.
The challenge lasted for two days and consisted of two tasks that evaluated our different skills and competencies. On the first day we used special simulation software to run our own airline company. The conditions were as close to real life as possible, meaning that all business aspects should have been taken in mind – price strategy, marketing research, understanding of customer behaviour, R&D, HR and many others. The simulation was divided in 7 business cycles of 30 minutes each, so all the decisions we made were limited by this time constraint.
The second day of the challenge started with a new task – to propose an idea of a new social network and deliver a 3-minute pitch followed by 5-minute Q&A session to the panel of judges. We had only 4 hours to come up with an idea, to conduct research and to prepare our pitches. Our team focused on the idea of social network for Small- and Medium-size businesses (SMEs). As a team, we tried to answer such questions as why 9 out of 10 businesses or start-ups close down within 4 years, how can we tackle these issues and help them not only survive for a longer time but also be profitable and competitive. Eventually, we proposed to develop a platform where SMEs representatives could negotiate price, make bulk orders, establish partnership and solve issues with like-minded businesses around the globe.
Overall, NAC 2016 was an interesting experience, and thanks to LU Enterprise team and Careers, we were able to take 7th place out of 21. Although we did not win, we learned to work better in a team, to keep calm under pressure and effectively divide labour. It was a valuable experience definitely worth doing!