Home > Enterprise, Uncategorized > My Flux 500 Experience part 1

My Flux 500 Experience part 1

Last week a team from University of Hertfordshire went to Lancaster to represent the university in the Flux 500, the largest student business challenge in the UK. Jordan Batchelor, part of team UoH, tells us how he got on.

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Exciting, thrilling, insightful, chaotic, exhausting and rewarding.

These are some of the key words that spring to mind when I think about my Flux 500 experience. In the very early hours of the day as I was making my way to Euston Station to meet the team my mind was racing with ideas and business plans – and I didn’t even know what the scenario was yet!

As it seemed that no one was particularly looking forward to the lengthy train journey, it gave us all a chance to properly introduce ourselves to one another and allowed us to merge into a cohesive team rather than a group full of individuals.

Upon arriving at Lancaster University, we were shown to our accommodation and then given our schedule for the day.

Our very busy schedule involved a number of events such as meeting the sponsors of the event which included organisations such as Deloitte, Milkround, IBM and BAE Systems. After this was completed, we were given instructions on how the day ahead would be run and important timings to follow and this information was closely followed by revealing what our mystery business scenario would be!

At first, the reality of being on an Industrial Placement for the past six months started to sink in as I was panicking, worrying whether I had forgot everything I had learnt in the past two years. And my confidence was not eased by the sight of many of the other teams fully equipped with up-to-date Business textbooks but nevertheless I was ready to take on the challenge!

We then found out that we were split into three groups of four; with each group having one team that advanced to the finals and then the wait was finally over… We were told what our task was.

Our task was to “Explore and suggest new and innovative ideas that will increase profitability (in a department store) and whether this is achieved through lowering costs, increased revenue or a combination of the two.” At first this seemed to be a dream question because it focused on a business who was not making as much profits as is used to and now relied on our team who were Business Analysts to present the Board of Directors with a strategic plan to rectify this. However, the more information we got with the task made it incredibly challenging to find a new ideas and display how the idea/s would make the business more profitable in both the short and long term.

Once we had been given the task, we went off in our groups to plan for our presentation that would follow the next day. At first, we nominated a Project Manager to ensure that there was a head figure to keep the team on track at all times. Although I was not the Project Manager, I found myself working very closely with him making certain that the team stayed on track as well as making sure no one was left out and if any individuals were struggling with a particular section of work, we could all support them to the best of our ability.

At first we had loads of ideas flying around the table and the ‘Apprentice’ style feel for the task had really kicked in as we had started to run out of flipchart paper – scribbling down all of our creative ideas. In this time we managed to divide up tasks on who felt confident researching in particular sections and started to pull key facts and statistics to bring up for our presentation.

We were only given a limited amount of time with our Enterprise Champion in order to relay all of the information that we had researched for the task and allowed time for brief guidance and advice.

It felt as though we were only at work for a couple of minutes before being told that we had to wrap up for the day and it didn’t hit us until we stopped working that we were all knackered! As a group we decided to get an early night’s rest and meet up a couple of hours earlier than expected to further plan in an attempt to gain an advantage over our competitors.

 

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