• NI Schools’ Business Challenge for 2023 launched

NI Schools’ Business Challenge for 2023 launched

24 November 2022

Queen’s Management School, in partnership with BDO Northern Ireland, Henderson Group and supported by CCEA, have officially launched their NI Schools’ Business Challenge 2023. The popular competition for AS Level Business Studies students will take place on the 2nd February 2023 with registration now open.

Taking place at Queen’s Management School, Riddell Hall, the competition supports the CCEA’s A-level Business Studies qualification whilst also helping to develop the student’s acumen and knowledge of business with a competitive edge.

Laura Jackson, Partner at BDO NI said,

“The NI Schools’ Business Challenge is a unique initiative that gives young people studying Business Studies rare access to a real-life project and advice from seasoned business professionals ahead of their final A-level exams. The initiative also allows the students to develop teamwork, time management, analytical thinking, presentation and debating skills - all essential for their future success.”

The initiative will see students challenged to work as a team to develop, in real time, a business strategy based on a case study provided by Henderson Group. The judging panel, made up of representatives from BDO NI, Queens Management School, Henderson Group and CCEA will evaluate each submission and presentation with the winner revealed on Finals Day – 2nd February.

The Challenge has always attracted significant attention from schools across the region and with-it forming part of the A-level Business Studies qualification, it adds to the appeal for schools.

Professor Ciaran Connolly, Queen’s University Belfast said,

“This year’s case study addresses a range of very topical and important issues which are impacting on business and society, with the event providing students with an exciting opportunity to engage with their peers from other schools in putting forward suggestions as to how these might be addressed.”

The Judging panel will be looking for teams who aren’t afraid to challenge each other, think outside the box and demonstrate strong leadership qualities.

Discussing the challenge, Billy Moore, Group FD of Henderson Group said

“The students will work on scenarios for which strategies are created every day within our business, from food waste management to operational performance, and will require them to do their own research and work as a team to build constructive feedback and provide insights and recommendations for the board to make informed decisions that will affect the future of the business.

“We have included a risk management scenario which will require the students to be forward thinking, helping to inform the real world of working within which they will be entering in just a few years.

“The BDO NI School Business Challenge is such a fantastic opportunity for business studies students, and we’re always blown away by the business acumen shown by the different schools each year. We are very much looking forward to meeting this year’s cohort.”

Jill Armer, Education Manager from CCEA added,

“At AS and A Level students must apply their knowledge in the examinations in various contexts. This challenge is a great opportunity for students to develop these skills and to work as a team bringing potential business solutions to a ‘virtual’ board room situation. Year on year the standard of the teams presenting is very high, a real testament to the way teachers and students have worked together.”

Bragging rights for the 2022 challenge went to Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt, with the team taking home VIP tickets for a Belfast Giants game, £500 for their school and a bespoke trophy.

For more information about the scheme or to register a team/s for the challenge, please contact Professor Ciaran Connolly at Queen’s Management School at [email protected] or 02890 974796.

Pictured at Riddel Hall are the winners from Rainey Endowed School; Lewis Boyle, Sara Henderson, Mary Payne and Shay Shiels with Professor Ciaran Connolly of Queen’s Management School (left), Nigel Harra, Senior Partner at BDO NI (middle) and Billy Moore, Group Finance Director at Henderson Group (right).