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Business School Students win Univative Business Competition

06 Aug 2012

For the second year in a row, students from the University of Sydney Business School have presented the winning business plan in the Univative Business Case consulting competition. While showcasing their employability skills and building their professional networks, the Business School team impressed the main sponsor and hosting partner, Ernst & Young, with a business case which exceeded expectation.

Matthew John Wells, Simon Lobascher, Leah Auld, Frederick Nguyen, Sarah Zhao, Jenny Hu and Aki Mahadevan were selected to compete for the Business School after a rigorous application process which assessed the students' motivation, skills, work experience and drive to improve their graduate skills and attributes.

The ink was barely dry on their Semester One final exams before the seven students commenced preparation for the Univative Challenge, an inter-university business consulting competition between six top NSW Universities which involves researching, discussing, consulting and formulating solutions to a business case.

Open to local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate students of any disciplinary background, the initiative is run by the Business School Careers and Employer Relations Office (CEO) and has a unique focus on employability skills. Host organisations included the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Hilti, Nielson, the Co-Op Bookshop and Conservation Volunteers Australia.

Following a program launch in the headquarters of Ernst & Young, the team were briefed on the challenge of managing, planning, promoting and costing the inaugural Ernst & Young Open Day 2013. Given 3 weeks to prepare a report and presentation, the students tackled late night meetings and countless hours of research and preparation around the commitments of full-time work and winter school studies.

Adopting the theme, "Ignite your spark", the Business School team were commended by the executive panel for their professionalism, creating a marketable and innovative business preposition, aligning the event with the key overarching themes that encapsulates the Ernst & Young workplace and taking a fun and fresh approach to the company's branding.

Emphasising the gratification of knowing hard work paid off, Bachelor of Commerce/ Civil Engineering student Matthew John Wells, said that the team was thrilled to have won. More importantly, he said, the team grew in confidence with their soft skills and business acumen.

"The Univative Competition was a fantastic experience," said Matthew. "We were able to combine our team's diverse knowledge in engineering, business and law which made for a very interesting business case. The competition facilitated a very close working relationship with key Ernst & Young representatives which was a great networking opportunity."

"Univative gave us a real sense that the practical and translatable skills we have learnt at the Business School are very relevant in the ever-changing world of business and it was particularly exciting to illustrate these skills in engaging with employers."

Lucinda Crossley Meates from the Business School's CEO stressed that Univative was valuable for both students and industry.

"Driven students are looking for more and more opportunities to get critical business experience before they graduate," she said. "This makes them highly attractive to employers and ahead of the pack when it comes to chasing a top graduate offer. At the same time, our industry partners are keen to work with Business School students to snare future top talent early."

As winners, the team were presented with gifts and the unique opportunity to have a personalised networking event with service line representatives. The students will continue to collaborate with Ernst & Young during the planning and execution of the event.