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

The Challenge, which took place on 12 - 13 March 2016, brought together over 80 students from 12 universities across the UK. The students had diverse academic backgrounds ranging from criminology through economics to fashion design. They were asked to complete two tasks that were designed to encourage them to think critically, be creative, play to one another’s strengths, and work as a team. Their efforts were then judged by a panel of successful entrepreneurs and senior business leaders.

Professor Michael Dickmann, Director of Cranfield’s Masters in Management, commented: “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.”

The first challenge 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.

Cranfield Masters in Management (MiM) students Jennifer Pater, Tim Arntz, Heather Simmons and Alfie Jackson, who made up this year’s winning team, commented: “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 transferrable 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.

Imran Zawwar, coach and mentor for Cranfield’s team, said: “It is an honour to win the Challenge for a third time in a row. I believe that our success lies in our commitment, the high calibre of our students, and the positive synergy between professors and students.”

The National Apprentice Challenge in an annual two-day residential programme which enables students from across the UK to undertake a series of practical challenges that will test their creativity and entrepreneurial mind-set whilst encouraging them to network, and preparing them for their future careers.

This video summarises the students’ experience at this year’s National Apprentice Challenge: 

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.