A team of sixth-formers from Harlington Upper School scooped the top prize of £1,000 after winning the Cranfield Business Challenge for local schools on Friday, 9 December. The runner-up team won vouchers for £100 each.

A total of 20 schools from Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire entered the competition, organised by Cranfield School of Management. The team from Bedford beat Lord Grey School from Milton Keynes in a closely contested final.

After progressing through two earlier rounds, the two teams had to present their business plan to a panel of experts and field a series of searching questions. The winning team was Harry Rankin, Jake Goodhand, Jack Bird, Sam Hicks.

Jake Bird, a Year 13 Business and Economics Student, one of the winning team said: “The Cranfield University Business Challenge has been a brilliant opportunity to develop both analytical and decision making skills in a real world context, throughout the challenge our teamwork skills were constantly tested under high pressure and severe time restraints. It has given an excellent extra-curriculum background to business and provided the perfect chance to network with individuals in the business world. Thank you for this excellent opportunity”.

Karen Valverde, Business Simulations Director from Cranfield’s Centre for Customised Executive Development (CCED), was highly impressed with this year’s performance from the students: “Both teams were fantastic and demonstrated real business sense. The competition is a great way for students to experience working in a business with guidance from mentors from the corporate world. We want to encourage young people to get excited about business and we are delighted that the competition continues to generate such high levels of enthusiasm and participation.”  

Mr Colin Wright, Head of KS5 Business & Economics, Harlington Upper School, said of their win: “The Cranfield Business Challenge is one of those rare things, a business simulation for students that actually replicates business, with real business partners and mentors. It is a fantastically well organised event and gives the students the opportunity to challenge themselves in a controlled environment. This experience has help the students understand how all the parts of a business work together and has undoubtedly given them an insight to real business. I cannot thank Cranfield University enough for the opportunity they have given my students. Harlington Upper School is proud to have won the 20th anniversary competition and hope to be involved in another 20 years’ time”.

The annual competition is in its 20th year and over that time more than 4,000 students and 800 mentors from a wide range of companies have taken part.

The final took place at the Cranfield campus and was attended by John Handley, a retired Cranfield lecturer and founder of the competition; Professor Lynette Ryals, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (education), Cranfield University; Dr John Glen, Director of CCED; along with business sponsors and mentors who have worked with the students, including representatives from Santander, John Lewis, Metro Bank, Lynx Networks, GetWaiter, Tacit Sims, Nissan, Wolverton and Stony Stratford Rotary Club, Parrish’s Farm, SDS, Personal Group, Marshall, Woodfines, Tacit Sims, Fresh Tracks and Cranfield Aerospace.

Harry Rankin, Jake Goodhand, Jack Bird, Sam Hicks
(l-r) Harry Rankin, Jake Goodhand, Jack Bird, Sam Hicks

About Cranfield University

Cranfield has been a world leader in management education and research for over 50 years, helping individuals and organisations learn and succeed by transforming knowledge into action. We are dedicated to creating responsible management thinking, improving business performance and inspiring the next generation of business leaders. We work to change the lives of our students and executives by encouraging innovation and creative thinking, as well as the drive to succeed and make a real impact on their organisations.

Organisations as diverse as Jaguar Land Rover, BAE Systems, Royal Dutch Shell, L’Oréal, UNICEF and the African Development Bank have benefited from our work, which ranges from management research projects, through staff talent management development on our MBA courses, to customised executive programmes.

Cranfield is one of an elite group of Schools worldwide to hold the triple accreditation of: AACSB International (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) and AMBA (the Association of MBAs).

We are in the Top 10 International Business Schools in the Forbes’ ranking.

Our open and customised executive education programmes are ranked in the top five in the UK, according to the latest Financial Times survey, and in the top ten in the world for international reach. Over 10,000 people come to Cranfield each year to benefit from our executive and professional development programmes.