VIDEO: University students scoop national apprentice prize

Cranfield winners PNL-160321-114715001
Cranfield winners PNL-160321-114715001

A team of Cranfield students has won the annual National Apprentice Challenge for the third year running, with another university team receiving the runner’s up prize.

The Challenge saw more than 80 students from 12 universities across the UK take on two tasks which needed them to think critically, be creative and work as a team.

The first required them to build a business plan for an airline starting with a budget of £45 million. This entailed developing and implementing business strategies that could be used to decide on critical elements such as routes, scheduling, pricing, marketing and HR.

The second task offered students the opportunity to be more creative and work under pressure to a four-hour deadline. They pitched ‘out of the box’ ideas for a brand new social media platform to a panel of entrepreneurs.

The students, who have diverse academic backgrounds ranging from criminology through economics to fashion design, were judged by a panel of successful entrepreneurs and senior business leaders.

Cranfield’s director of Masters in Management Professor Michael Dickmann said: “I am extremely proud of our management students. They had tough competition from universities such as Warwick, Liverpool, Aston, Birmingham and Lancaster, yet managed to win by a huge margin.

“Having now won this national competition three times shows how well Cranfield prepares students for real business life.”

Cranfield Masters in Management (MiM) students Jennifer Pater, Tim Arntz, Heather Simmons and Alfie Jackson, who made up this year’s winning team, said: “Entering the awards was a great opportunity to meet and compete with students from other universities. During the Challenge weekend, we had lots of opportunities to practise key transferable skills such as teamwork, leadership and decision making.”

As winners of this year’s challenge, Cranfield’s team received a £1,000 cash prize and a final stage interview with Sunday Times’ 500 top employers and small-medium enterprises, which will be invaluable in progressing their careers.