A-LEVEL STUDENTS CELEBRATE SUCCESS AT FIRST SIMULATION CHALLENGE

A-Level pupils from Bangor Grammar came out winners of Northern Ireland’s first Business Simulator Challenge, aimed at testing essential competencies required for the workplace.

The initiative, organised by Queen’s Management School, BDO Northern Ireland and Henderson Group saw nine A-Level student teams from schools across Northern Ireland compete in the challenge which forms part of the wider Business Studies Curriculum. 

The real-time simulator challenge placed students in the position of business leaders and CEOs, offering a range of complex problems and tasking them to solve them, demonstrating a range of skills including commercial awareness, team work, financial management and leadership. 

The game, now in its sixth edition, allows students operating in small groups to control an independent company in competition with other companies in the same industry.

The game requires the students to make numerous decisions regarding product pricing, production, marketing and all aspects of company operations in numerous decision periods.

Announcing the winners, Laura Jackson, Partner at BDO Northern Ireland said; “This challenge is an opportunity for young people to get a practical sense of what challenges businesses are facing today and how they use their theoretical knowledge to better inform and solve problems. It is vital that schools are providing students with the opportunity to gain practical experience through their learning. Hosting this initiative alongside the wider curriculum will allow this approach to become standard across schools”.

The final, which took place at Riddel Hall on Friday 22nd November was judged by a panel of business experts from BDO Northern Ireland, Henderson Group, Queen’s Management School and SimVenture, the business simulator software provider.

“Just Running Quarters” from Bangor Grammar were announced as the winners after a highly competitive event.

Professor Ciaran Connolly from Queen’s University Management School added: “The challenge provides an opportunity for students to get as close to a real life business scenario as possible, allowing them to apply real world experiences to their studies.

“Having an expert panel to provide advice and guidance throughout the contest allowed pupils to gain an understanding of how their decisions can have a real impact”.

Ron Whitten, Chief Financial Officer at Henderson added:

“It was encouraging to see the enthusiasm of the young people taking part, demonstrating real team work and leadership at a young age which are important attributes for future success.

“I believe there were quite a few future business leaders in that room and we hope this challenge gave them the appetite to continue to learn and develop these skills”. 

Business Studies Subject Officer at CCEA, Jill Armer, explains that the Simulator challenge links to many integral parts of the curriculum:

“This business challenge is a perfect example of the alignment between theoretical learning and practical experience with opportunities to gain significant practical skills, including team work, decision making and creativity”.

As part of a series of business led challenges aimed at supporting young people, the event partners are encouraging schools to apply for the next NI School Business Challenge which is due to take place on the 12th of February 2020.

The competition offers a range of top prizes for schools with the winning team receiving VIP tickets for a Belfast Giants game and £500 for their school.

For more information about the above initiatives and how to register, please visit www.bdoni.com/careers or contact Professor Ciaran Connolly on c.j.connolly@qub.ac.uk or 02890 974796.

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