Friday, 4 April 2014

Royal Holloway Ambassadors Reach UBC finals !

Royal Holloway UBC finalists & Dr Donna Brown
Each year more than 300 teams drawn from a wide range of UK universities enter teams in a business competition (UBC) that uses a sophisticated computer simulation package to allow students to role play board room decision making.  

Using cycle based decision rounds to represent trading periods, students have to assess the competitive environment and make carefully thought through decisions on range of key business drivers that includes; pricing, production volume, R&D investment, market research spend, capital expenditure to expand production facilities and benefit from economies of scale as well as human resource and CSR factors.  Key to success, as in the real world, is keeping a careful eye on the competition and trying to anticipate what the future competitive situation will be.

Presentation skill development

Royal Holloway's lead student ambassador Helena Wilkin stated; 

"The whole UBC was an interesting experience - I underestimated the amount I would learn from the competition, and together we developed a great deal of awareness of how we work individually and as a team.

Working under time pressure
"We are all highly competitive and would have dearly loved to have won, however to reach the finals was a fantastic achievement.  We will definitely want to be participating again next year !"

Decision making isn't all hard work ?
The team, mentored by MBA Director & second year marketing management module leader Justin O'Brien, enjoyed free flowing conversations about the various decisions they needed to make and what strategy they would look to follow. Justin said "whilst this group clearly enjoyed the challenge they were also seeing how their cross disciplinary management studies were being brought together in a very compelling and realistic manner.  More than doing exceptionally well in the competition, this group got to taste what business decision making can be like."

Fun Learning !
At the semi-final stages, having seen a data translation error (a dodgy 7 was blamed) the team nearly dropped off a winning position, but luckily an unusual market situation arose that saw them recover any losses and win by an exceptionally high margin.  (Ok - the other competitors all decided to leave the B2B market alone, offering high demand and monopolistic pricing potential)

In deeply philosophical mood Mike Den Harthog summed up his experience thus; "Our UBC success can be described like a Phoenix rising out of the ashes.  We were thrown obstacles left and right, with some informed gambling here and there we reached the UBC finals, where we truly displayed excellent team work." 

Dr Donna Brown and Dr Nana Zhao (front centre and right) picture with the successful Royal Holloway Management finalists

Dr Nana Zhao, who co-ordinates the School of Management teams participating in this competition each year, was 'delighted' that the ambassadors team performed so well this year. "This year our student teams did exceptionally well. The UBC gives our students a great opportunity to put the knowledge that they have learned on their courses into practice. The students also get to network with potential employers at the semi-finals and the grand final.”

Head of the Student Ambassador programme Dr Donna Brown stated "This was my first involvement in a programme of this nature. Watching the team put to use their academic knowledge in such a pressured environment was thrilling.  Their ability to support each other and to over come the calamity of the "7", is a testament to their team working skills".  

Photos: Thanks to Helena Wilkin and Nana Zhao.