Glenlola Collegiate students win the 2024 NI Schools’ Business Challenge

Published: 14/02/2024, 10:00am
NI Business Challenge Winners 2024
Pictured with the 2024 NI Schools’ Business Challenge winners Glenlola Collegiate are Nigel Harra, Senior Partner at BDO NI, Dr Danielle McConville, Head of Department of Accounting at Queen’s Business School, Jayne FitzGerald, Programme Manager at CCEA and Billy Moore, Group Finance Director at Henderson Group.

86 pupils from schools across Northern Ireland took part in the annual NI Schools’ Business Challenge which saw Glenlola Collegiate crowned winners for 2024.

A partnership between Queen’s Business School, BDO Northern Ireland, Henderson Group and supported by CCEA, the competition tests the business acumen of A-Level Business Studies pupils who are tasked to work in teams to develop a business strategy in real time.

The challenge, which also supports CCEA’s business related A-level qualifications, took place at the new Queen’s Business School with the winning team being selected for their in-depth understanding of the current economic landscape and their innovative solutions.

Nigel Harra, Senior Partner at BDO Northern Ireland said,

NI Schools' Business Challenge, now in its 7th year, continues to provide a unique opportunity for pupils to apply knowledge gained through their studies to practical business scenarios while receiving help and advice from the best in business. The challenge provided an insight into the real-life, strategic decision-making processes applied by a familiar and very successful organisation.

I was inspired by the talent of all the pupils who took part and congratulate Glenlola Collegiate on their much-deserved victory in what was an incredibly competitive event.

On the day, a business case study was provided to students by Henderson Group with pupils tasked with developing and pitching a business strategy to the judging panel.

Billy Moore, Finance Director at Henderson Group discusses the importance of this challenge,

This year’s NI Schools’ Business Challenge has been a great success and it has been a pleasure meeting some of the pupils, whom I am sure will do excellent things in the future. As a leading employer in Northern Ireland, innovative strategy is at our core and every pupil who took part in the challenge showed they have those core skills. I’d like to congratulate the winning school, Glenlola Collegiate, who really showed their business acumen to pip the others to the post.

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

Professor Ciaran Connolly from Queen’s Business School said,

The calibre of students competing in this challenge is a credit to their teachers and schools, and I would like to thank the teachers for encouraging and supporting their students to participate in this event. I hope that this has been a rewarding experience for the students and that many decide to come to Queen’s Business School, especially to study Accounting.

Dr Danielle McConville, Head of the Accounting Department at Queen’s Business School added,

The Accounting Department at Queen's Business School is committed to nurturing the business leaders of the future, and we thank BDO, Henderson Group and CCEA for continuing to support this annual challenge. I'd like to congratulate the winning team and all of the students who took part, demonstrating subject knowledge, analytical and presentation skills, ethical and sustainable values, and real enthusiasm for their subject.

A key element of the NI Schools’ Business Challenge is that it supports CCEA’s A-Level Business Studies and Education Manager for Business Studies at CCEA, Jill Armer added,

The skills and knowledge of all the students taking part never fails to impress me each year. Their teachers should also be applauded as it is more than evident that there is a huge amount of time and effort that goes into preparing each school’s presentation. Whilst in CCEA, every summer, we see an excellent standard of work presented in scripts; it is a real pleasure to see and hear the Business Studies specification content used in the context of a real business scenario and presented in such a cohesive way to a panel of business and educational professionals.

As winners, Glenlola Collegiate came away with VIP suite tickets for a Belfast Giants game and a £500 prize pot for their school. Receiving the winner's trophy, Mr Haylett, Glenlola Collegiate’s Business Studies teacher said,

This is a fantastic achievement for these girls who have given up a significant amount of time and worked tirelessly on this presentation. Engaging in the competition honed their research, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. The event provided a unique platform for them to showcase their talents and abilities to industry professionals. We take immense pride in their accomplishment and eagerly anticipate their future success.

Watch our video to get an overview of the day.

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