Thirty students who signed up on the Student Portal rose to the challenge braved the CIMA Business Challenge on 24th February 2014.
Students attending were drawn from accountancy and finance and other disciplines, including Law and Economics. The CIMA Business Challenge is a realistic business brief and the perfect platform from which business competencies can be developed. The event was introduced by Paul Cannons, GSM Employability consultant, and supported by Albert de Jonge Head of Accountancy and Finance. Paul outlined how the CIMA Business Challenge develops a range of key business skills.
The students formed small business teams and honed their time management skills to complete the business briefing.
The briefing contained financial data and reports based on a realistic scenario of two companies that had merged and sought to grow the business in three distinct geographical areas with associated product lines. In less than an hour the students had to come up with a strategy outlining how this company could achieve growth and increase shareholder returns in new and existing overseas markets.
Whilst the majority of students present were from an accountancy and finance background, business law and economics students all played their part in the team. Paul explained this is similar to contexts in which management accountants find themselves, often ‘parachuted in’ to assist project managers who are not from an accountancy background. The days of hiding behind numbers for accountants as number crunchers are long gone and instead management accountants are now seen as ‘trusted advisers’ who can articulate what the numbers mean in terms of potential growth for a business.
Students’ drew upon the diversity within the teams to develop creative, viable solutions to add shareholder value. Paul encouraged such thinking, as management accountants are innovative and assist companies to stay ahead of the competition. Albert de Jonge advised the teams to back up their strategies by using the data supplied in the briefing pack and to consider the risks as well as merits of their strategies.
Each group rose to these challenges and presented their strategy to their peers and to a panel of judges comprising of members of the GSM team Paul Cannons (Employability Consultant), Theodora Marshall (Events Coordinator) and Albert de Jonge (Head of Accounting and Finance.
Student feedback strongly reflected how much individual members had ‘relished the challenge of composing a presentation in a short time and the overwhelming majority of students felt this was ‘a good experience of dealing with the kind of data and details which is required by a team of management accountants’. Several of the students noted in their feedback that they welcomed this ‘opportunity to work in a team’ and it had ‘boosted confidence to present’.
There was a passionate student plea for another similar event. As a result Paul will be arranging another CIMA Business Challenge at Greenford as well as at the Greenwich campus – so keep checking for dates on the Student Portal.