Students studying business degrees through University College Isle of Man (UCM) wowed representatives from across the Island’s business sector this month as they pitched innovative and ethical ideas for growing a fictional sustainable tourism business in Africa.
Set up by the Business Management Degree Programme Leader Pippa Edmonds, the business game saw 70 students studying for degrees in Accounting and Finance, Business Management and Event Management and Marketing battle it out to win funding for fictional company Rajkarina by developing sustainable, innovative and ethical business recommendations.
New and returning students were thrown into the thick of it on the very first day of the exercise being asked to bond into multi-disciplinary teams, review complex information and finally present their recommendations. Once they had agreed and developed their ideas, they pitched their plan to a panel of judges made up of some of the Island’s most prominent business leaders: Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK, Chair of Douglas Chamber Employment and Skills committee Caren Pegg, UCM’s partner and international businessman PJ Vermeulen and local entrepreneur Rob Storey, a previous student.
Programme Leader Pippa Edmonds explained: ‘We know we have amazing students, this enabled us to have faith that we could really push them to work upon and then pitch their ideas under real time pressure’
‘We are extremely grateful for the support from our judges, which is indicative of the fantastic links we have with Island businesses. We couldn’t have successfully hosted the business game without our panel of industry judges: their involvement was invaluable and I can’t thank them enough for supporting our inaugural business game. Their feedback on the quality of our students was superb to hear.’
The business game was devised so that students from different years and disciplines could work together, sharing expertise and knowledge.
Pippa continued: ‘Our final year degree students were asked to mentor the groups and were led by UCM Principal, Jo Pretty. This added an extra dimension to their learning and gave them the opportunity to act up in a managerial position. It was amazing to witness the collaboration between the students of differing disciplines and years, as they took up the challenge and set to making contacts and negotiating with each other. They are, after all, as Caren said, our Island’s future business leaders! Rob Storey was so impressed with the winners of the team award that extra Hooded Ram vouchers were awarded.’
Commenting on UCM’s links with on-Island business, Head of Higher Education Development at UCM, Gail Corrin stated: ‘Our on-Island degree presence is growing in line with the economic development of the Island, as is our link with all Island business sectors. Our students are given a unique opportunity by choosing to stay on Island to study in that they are already collaborating, working, and interacting with their future employers and contacts whilst completing their degree. The introduction of the business game kicks that off from the moment they step through our door getting them to think about how they could use the information they will receive over the three years to support and benefit business growth.’
An event of this type give students who study on Island the advantage of gaining first person interaction directly with Island employers, it also provides the Island’s future work force with connections they will take into business with them which will support networking.
Joanna Steele, a first year student studying at UCM commented: ‘I think it was an excellent experience that really helped me to branch out and collaborate with other students. Beginning education at this level can be daunting, not only did it give me an opportunity to meet with students studying other business disciplines and avoid that first week of not really knowing anyone, it also made me think from the very start of my course, dropping me right into my degree.’