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Nottingham Business School Masters students win top university challenge

A group of five postgraduate students from Nottingham Business School (NBS) have won the Universities Business Challenge (UBC) Global Masters Challenge, the postgraduate level of the world’s longest established simulation-based competition designed to develop student employability and enterprise skills.

UBC Global Masters postgrad challenge logo

The winning team from NBS faced tough competition from postgraduate students from universities across the UK as they competed in the first virtual Grand Final. The group of five, Anirudth Chandramouli, Carlos Sandoval Vargas, Fidelis Maduka, Minnu Ajith and Saumil Shah, showcased their strong entrepreneurial acumen and collaborative skills throughout the competition to claim the top prize.

The UBC is a simulation-based event designed to improve the employability of high-calibre postgraduate students. The event provided students, working in teams of up to five members, the opportunity to act as a board of directors who have taken responsibility for improving the performance of a realistic but fictional company. The exercise required students to consider not only the financial performance of the company, but also its responsibilities to its various stakeholders including its suppliers, its customers and its employees.

Each round was highly competitive as teams were ranked in terms of the financial and non-financial performance of the company they were running. Round 1 commenced online in late October and the winning teams were invited to the live one-day events. However, due to the current restrictions in place, the live events were not possible.

Adaptability key in students' success

The one-day Grand Final switched from a live event to online virtual at short notice. Students quickly adapted and benefitted from the development of online collaborative skills in practice.

Their business idea – a biodegradable clothes company. The team created a business model canvas which involved planning and running a coffee shop for three months whilst seeking investment to scale up the business to execute the apparel business.

On completing the challenge online, the challenge put the students’ teamworking skills to the test. MSc Human Resource Management student Minnu Ajith commented “It was challenging as we all were in different places: Saumil being in a different time zone in India, me being in Jersey Channel Islands, and Carlos, Anirudth and Fidelis in Nottingham. However, we overcame the challenges by using technology to its fullest. Carlos created an Excel spreadsheet online, enabling all of us to work at the same time and we used WhatsApp, Zoom and Slack to communicate with each other and UBC.

And what was it like to be named the winners? Minnu shared, “One of the best moments in my life. While they were announcing the results, we all were on group WhatsApp call. The tension built up especially when it came to the top three, no words could explain how happy we were, it was like all our hard work paid off at the end. A journey that started in October ended with memories that I will never forget.”

NBS Employability Manager Fiona Winfield, who supported the students throughout, added, “Nottingham Business School has entered teams in the undergraduate version of the UBC for many years, but this is the first time we have supported postgraduates to participate in the newer Masters version.

"It is a great opportunity for students to put into practice skills and knowledge developed as part of their course. With the added dimension this year of experiencing working in a team based in different parts of world, something that many will need to do in the future.”

The winning group

Anirudth Chandramouli (MSc Management and Global Supply Chain Management)

Carlos Sandoval Vargas (MSc Management and Business Analytics)

Fidelis Maduka (MSc Human Resource Management)

Minnu Ajith (MSc Human Resource Management)

Saumil Shah (MSc Management and International Business)

Published on 7 April 2020
  • Category: Business; Nottingham Business School