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Future business stars reach UK-wide apprentice finals

22 March 2016

MSc Strategic Marketing students compete at the 2016 National Apprentice Challenge Finals.

Four Cardiff Business School MSc students recently competed against 20 teams from across the UK for the title of National Apprentice Challenge Champions 2016.

The team of four travelled to Aston University for an intense two day residential programme which ran March 12-13.

The National Apprentice Challenge, run by Centre for Applied Learning, is one of the largest inter-university enterprise competitions in the UK. Each year 80-100 of the brightest and most ambitious students nation-wide compete against each other to complete practical business tasks and prove their entrepreneurial and strategic prowess.

This year the prize was £1,000 cash, business mentorship and fast track to paid internship opportunities.

The two day residential weekend was packed with reality-based business tasks, networking opportunities and fun surprises. This was an opportunity for them to experience the key stages of running a business and turn the theory of their academic study in to practical application.

The first task saw the students run a virtual airline company. The teams had to develop and implement business strategies and create marketing plans before deciding the routes, amenities and schedules. Each team began with providing UK internal flights and were then given the option to expand routes into Spain and China. The aim was to make as high a profit as possible within seven virtual trading round. Given the dynamic nature of the market, each team had to adapt their strategies based on the results of their competitors, echoing the reality of business in real life.

The second task challenged the teams to create an innovative business concept for The Next Social Media Platform and pitch it in front of experienced judges and serial entrepreneurs. Before the start of this task, all the participants received a training from Otearners.org on how to deliver effective and memorable presentations. Afforded only a short amount of time to prepare, students needed to maximise team strengths in key areas and demonstrate trust and open communication.

Dr Rob Angell, lecturer on the MSc Strategic Marketing programme, said: “This is the fifth year that we have worked with the National Apprentice Challenge, and our relationship continues to grow in strength. The great advantage of this competition is that it gives students the opportunity to take their classroom based learning and apply it in practice. It also provides the chance to engage with senior executives working in industry.”

Dr Eleri Rosier, Cardiff Business School’s MSc Strategic Marketing Programme Director, added: “I think this epitomises what we are trying to do at Cardiff Business School; that is, provide a world-class education and student experience that gives our graduates the very best chance to thrive in a competitive working environment.”

A team from the University of Cranfield were the overall winners, securing the £1,000 prize and business mentorship.