Hi, my name is Shejla, I am a master’s student at Westminster Business School, and you might know me from my previous articles in the Student Minds series. Every year, the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Enterprise Development MSc organises an International Business Challenge taking place in a foreign country. As you already know, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the way we all study and work. And so, working from home is currently a trend. People from all around the world got used to this new way of working. To be honest, they are feeling comfortable with it now.
Studies amid Covid-19 Pandemic
During those challenging times, universities do their best to provide students with good quality education. The expectations are high! But I must admit that it hasn’t always been easy. Even though academics do their best to provide video lectures and online materials, it’s been difficult to follow the curriculum to the fullest. Luckily, we got lots of support with our course team arranging timetables for students located in different time zones and organizing virtual social events to make us network with each other!
International Business Challenge
The academic year had gone like a breeze. By the end of the second semester, all of us had the opportunity to use our entrepreneurial mindset and skills gained during the academic year. We tested them in practice while working with real international clients as part of the International Business Challenge. This year the business challenge took a completely different form. It was organized with clients such as Tesisquare and Great Innova and each activity was held in a 360-degree virtual reality platform. This unique immersive experience was created from scratch and hosted by Emperia Ltd and took all the participants to the Ionian Sea coast. It was amazing to experience the Virtual Reality and 3D technology in practice. It truly reached high levels of realism!
The International Business Challenge and all its activities took place between 7th-9th of April 2021. I was honoured to be on the organising team as a Group Liaison Officer (GLO). Alongside two other students, we helped Dr Luca Cacciolatti (course leader) and Sindile Dlamini to put the platform together for other students and clients. We assisted with filling it with all the necessary information.
Some of my most important takeaways from this project were the knowledge and skills learnt and the new connections made. But most importantly – the sense of accomplishment! “If we don’t learn anything from a new project, then we are not doing things right”. I always think that as young professionals, we always need to grow and learn new things. Making an effort to learn whenever we can, everywhere we can and from whoever we can is such an important thing! On top of it, the sense of accomplishment that comes from finalising the project successfully was very satisfying. The International Business Challenge made that all possible for us in every aspect.
I asked Anmol Mohanty of the September 2021 cohort and my fellow Group Liaison Officer to share thoughts on her experience with organising the International Business Challenge:
“In my capacity as a Group Liaison Officer (GLO), I had the incredible honour to support the event management of EIED MSc yearly highlight – the International Business Challenge (IBC). It run virtually in a 360-degree digital pla
tform for the first time ever because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Throughout the MSc program, we learnt to be resilient and adaptable, just like entrepreneurs. This virtual event was the best example of this sense of adaptability and resilience. The opportunity to support the event management of the IBC was valuable. On top of it, speaking on Launch Day and sharing my overall experience of the EIED MSc program as a GLO was amazing!”
As part of the business challenge itself, each team had to solve a business case using their full package of skills gained during both semesters. My team Ubuntu found more effective ways of encouraging the use of the company’s solutions by all its clients. As a team, we also worked on ways to improve customer experience when using company’s solutions. We felt it was a very interesting business case which we needed to present with a pre-recorded pitch.
It was challenging to come up with innovative business solutions for businesses at the level of Tesisquare. It was mainly because the professionals on the panel were very experienced and up to date with the latest technological and business trends. You can imagine that we had to pitch in front of them! Even though it seemed challenging to us at the beginning, we managed to provide useful solutions. One of the biggest challenges we faced was time management. We had less than 48-hours to solve the business case presented to us.
On the International Business Challenge itself, Anmol said:
“I also had an exciting opportunity to participate in the IBC 2021 alongside my team, Team LARA. The first-hand experience of working with a real client, Tesisquare on their real-life business problems, was very valuable. The opportunity to work closely with Tesisquare allowed us to identify gaps within their business. We then creatively problem-solved their predominant business challenge(s) which was quite enlightening! My team and I hoped that our practical solution would help our client’s business. To our surprise, we won the title of the “Most Impactful Project”. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience!”
-Anmol Mohanty, Group Liaison Officer, MSc. EIED (Class of 2021)
This event would have not been possible without the hard work of the creative and visionary Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Enterprise Development MSc team.