St Mary’s Grammar and Rathmore Grammar students win the 2023 NI Schools’ Business Challenge

Published: 14/02/2023, 9:00am
NI School's Business Challenge
Katie O'Reilly of Rathmore Grammar (left) and Emma McNally of St Mary's Grammar (right) are presented with the 2023 NI Schools' Business Challenge winner's trophy as joint champions by event organisers (L-R) Laura Jackson, BDO NI Partner and Honorary Professor at Queen's Management School, Professor Ciaran Connolly of Queen's Management School, Jill Armer, CCEA’s Business Studies Education Manager, and Billy Moore, Financial Director at Henderson Group

100 pupils from schools across Northern Ireland took part in the annual NI Schools’ Business Challenge which saw St Mary's Grammar School and Rathmore Grammar School crowned joint winners.

The competition, which aligns with CCEA’s A level Business Studies qualification, was held in association with Queen’s Management School, BDO Northern Ireland, Henderson Group and supported by CCEA, aims to test the business acumen of A level Business Studies pupils who are tasked to work in teams to develop a business strategy in real time.   A business case study was provided to students by Henderson Group, who were then tasked with developing their strategy and pitching it to the judging panel.

This year’s competition took place at Queen’s Management School, Riddel Hall, with the winning teams selected after the panel of judges were unable to separate the entries from St Mary’s and Rathmore.

Jill Armer, CCEA’s Business Studies Education Manager, said:

“It was a fantastic event to be a part of. Once again, the participants, their teachers, and schools should be very proud of the knowledge and skills displayed during the presentations.  The high level of both preparation and thought that has gone into the case study and to providing the business with potential innovative and realistic solutions was very evident.  In my view they are all winners.”

Laura Jackson, Partner at BDO Northern Ireland and Honorary Professor at Queen's Management School said,

“Practical challenges contribute to students’ learning and helps prepare them for their future. The earlier students can have access to this type of experience the more equipped they will be. This challenge gives pupils the opportunity to develop important skills that will stand them in good stead in the world of business and beyond.

“The talent that we are seeing coming through in these challenges is a testament to our young people and those who are guiding them in their education.”

Billy Moore, Financial Director at Henderson Group discussed the importance of this challenge,

“What businesses in Northern Ireland need right now is fresh thinking, robust strategies, and efficient operations as we battle against the challenges of various external factors. This year’s Schools’ Challenge winners brought each of those attributes in spades and had put in an impressive degree of research to build their consultation around risk management.

“This hands-on experience will be invaluable to the students who will be entering the workplace in a matter of years, while also giving them a depth of knowledge on real-life business scenarios that will stay with them far beyond their school years. All at Henderson Group send our congratulations to this year’s winners.”

The opportunity for students to pit themselves against other schools whilst learning from them and sharing ideas has contributed to the popularity of this competition.

Professor Ciaran Connolly from Queen’s Management School said:

“I would like to thank the teachers for encouraging and supporting their pupils to participate in this event. The quality of the presentations was extremely high and a testament to the talent and commitment of each of the teams. I hope that it has been a rewarding experience and that many decide to come to Queen’s, especially to study Accounting, after completing their A levels.”

The winning schools came away with VIP tickets for a Belfast Giants game and a £500 prize pot for their school.

Bangor pupils claim victory at the NI Schools Business Challenge

Published: 06/03/2020, 12:20pm

Pupils from Glenlola Collegiate emerged as winners of the third annual NI Schools Business Challenge. In association with the Henderson Group, BDO Northern Ireland and Queen’s Management School, 13 teams made up from schools across Northern Ireland took part in the competitive competition.

Bangor pupils claim victory at the NI Schools Business Challenge
Bangor pupils claim victory at the NI Schools Business Challenge.jpg

The initiative required pupils to develop and present a business strategy based on a case study provided by local business, the Henderson Group, specifically in relation to their award-winning Gander App and Henderson Technology arm of the business.

Each team’s entry was judged by a panel of senior business experts from BDO Northern Ireland, Henderson Group, and Queen’s Management School with the aim of the project to help develop the pupils’ practical skillset and demonstrate their knowledge.

This year’s event, supported by CCEA, took place at Queen’s Management School, Riddel Hall with the winning team from Glenlola being represented by Elsa Collins, Shana Martin, Kirsten Hanna, Allie Greer and Emer Malcolm. The winners were awarded the much-coveted trophy, VIP tickets for a Belfast Giants game and £500 for their school.

Northern Ireland Business Simulator Challenge

Published: 29/01/2020, 12:00pm

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.