York students’ business skills put to the test
The entrepreneurial skills of students at the York Management School, University of York, were put to the test when they entered an IBM-sponsored business challenge.
Teams of second-year management students pitched their ideas on how to start and run a successful enterprise as part of an innovative teaching programme.
Students first presented their business idea proposals to a challenging panel of ‘dragons’. Four groups were then chosen to compete in the final.
Head of the York Management School, Professor Jill Schofield, said: “Scrutiny of students’ business acumen is part of the teaching programme at York. Their business strategy, financial forecasts and funding proposals were put to a panel of ‘dragons’, leaders from a range of highly successful local and regional businesses in the initial heats.”
Business mentor Amanda Hullick said: ‘‘I was impressed by the standard of business idea and preparation by the students and how they went the extra mile. They displayed a real passion for their ideas and professionalism when presenting their ideas to IBM in the final. Ideas ranged from a social enterprise, digital marketing, on line retailing and fast food. Quite an impressive and diverse range of ideas considering they had to start with a blank sheet of paper.”
Asking the difficult questions at the final were IBM judges with many years of senior management experience.
IBM Director Gerry Reilly said: "Once again, I was very impressed with the detailed business planning, innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit of all the finalists. For some, the business planning module will have sparked an interest in setting themselves up in business and will certainly have provided all the students with the insights to becoming more effective managers and leaders of the future. In short, it could have a profound influence in their ultimate careers.”
‘Dragon’ Nick Danby of Face2Face Consulting said: “I thought the teams were very good indeed. Most had understood the key issues and had clearly put a great deal of thought into their approach, and delivered their points with confidence. The best teams managed to hit the right balance between having a clear and attractive proposition for financial investors and outlining the steps they would take in the business to create value. All seemed to have a very significantly greater grasp of business issues than I had at their age!”
Student Avtandil Makharoblishvili, a member of the winning student team, Fulford Community Farm Shop, a local social enterprise company, said: “I’ve always been fascinated by how businesses work and this experience has definitely given me valuable insights into this most interesting process. It has enabled me to understand first-hand the complexities of real business and has guided me in principles I will observe in my professional life.”