Team Masterminds: From left to right Manuart Ibrahimi, Michelle Adama, Martina Ivkovic, Nikol Genova and Alexandru Constantin Stoica
The University Business Challenge is a business simulated competition focused on developing employabilty and enterprise skills. Two teams from Westminster Business School have successfully made it to the semi-finals of the University Business Challenge. We wanted to get to know more about one of the semi-finalists “Masterminds”.
Briefly describe what this competition involves
The Universities Business Challenge (UBC) is the UK’s longest established and most recognised simulation-based competitive challenge for undergraduates designed to develop employability and enterprise skills using realistic business simulations. UBC involves forming a team of up to 5 members with other students in the same university (not necessarily on the same course) and working for 6 weeks, from the last week of October, as a “board of directors” in a simulated business scenario online submitting decisions each week. Since our business performed well, we get to move into the semi-finals phase which is a live event where we will compete on business strategy against other universities semi-finalists.
What made you want to take part in the University Business Challenge?
There were several reasons that convinced me and my team to take part in this competition. I am really ambitious and constantly like to challenge myself (so are my team members) so when I found out about this challenge I thought it would be an amazing learning experience. I was excited about this opportunity as it would allow me to gain an invaluable understanding of the business world and improve my financial awareness, decision-making skills, develop my team-working abilities, enterprise skills and increase my knowledge in key business areas such as marketing, finance and production.
The outcomes of this challenge would be the development of the workplace skills employers are looking for and help to start building our profile and add something significant to our CV. Furthermore each team member is presented with a certificate of participation which can be added to your co-curricular record as evidence of employability skills development.
Having reached the semi-finals, we would also have the opportunity to meet leading graduate employers like IBM this year, learn a lot of new things, have some fun meeting new people and possibly if we manage to be one of the top three best performing teams, win cash prizes as well, representing our university in the best possible way.
How did you end up forming a team? What qualities do each of you bring?
We ended up forming a team looking for the most suitable people to join this competition through our university network: we are all ambitious and self-driven, we come from different backgrounds or study different courses and these differences to me are positive as it enabled us to bring different qualities and knowledge of business management aspects, such as economics, marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and law that combined together will definitely push our chances of success in the competition.
What have you gained so far?
So far we are proud to have reached the semi-finals that this year. During the first stage of the challenge we noticed that our team working skills are improving along with our organisational skills. We learned some new concepts that increased our business awareness and decision making strategies; we made treasure of our mistakes optimising the strategy for the next week trying to always maximise profits and reducing costs and having a critical approach on each simulated new scenario. Overall we had an insight of what a real board of director faces in the real business world. Reaching the semi-finals also provided us some certificates attesting our achievement so far.
Alexandru Constantin Stoica
How do you feel about being one of the teams that reached the semi-finals?
We are very happy to have reached the semi-finals and we aim to do our best and make our way through to the Grand Final.
It is always a good sensation when the hard work pays off and that makes you feel even more motivated to carry on and give your best. We know that this stage of the competition requires even more effort, so we are organising weekly training meetings until the semi-finals day.
How would it feel to reach the finals?
It would be a great achievement that will make us very proud of ourselves. The skills we have gained so far and if we reach the finals, will give our CVs a boost, help us through our application processes for internships and placements or a future graduate job and will make us more employable in the future.
Why should others apply?
We really recommend to all students of any background to take part in this unique experience because there will be undoubtedly more to gain and nothing to lose. If you are ambitious and would like to challenge yourself getting out of your comfort zone it’s the ideal opportunity and such an amazing experience. This challenge can improve your financial awareness and decision-making skills, develop your team-working abilities, enterprise skills and increase your knowledge in key business areas such as marketing, finance and production. You will develop the workplace skills employers are looking for and help to start building your business profile and add something significant to your CV. Progressing through the semi-finals will enable you to meet leading graduate employers, learn a lot of new things, have some fun meeting new people and possibly win cash prizes as well as representing your university.
Thank you to Masterminds for sharing their experience so far. Masterminds will be attending the Semi-final stage which will take place at the University of Bristol. We wish them the best of luck!