Our Apprentice-Style Challenge

Student Apprentice Challenge

By Valeriia Reznik-Holmes

As part of the Business School 2015 induction week we offered incoming students a unique opportunity to participate in an amazing project. The challenge itself was set by Satalia. Daniel Hulme, Founder and CEO of Satalia, set a task to design an affordable stand up desk. Initially the idea behind the task appeared when Daniel decided that he wanted to supply his office with stand up desks which are believed to improve productivity and collaboration between staff.

Valeriia Reznik-Holmes, 1st year Business and Enterprise student, tells us all about the challenge from her perspective…

We were put into smaller groups and were assigned a group mentor; our mentor selected a Project Manager for the task the same way that Lord Sugar would on the Apprentice. As a group we then selected the Account Manager whose responsibility was to keep in touch with the client and provide them with any updates and information regarding the project. It was important to us as a group to come up with a memorable team name that would somehow relate to the project. We called our team Falcon. There was no reasoning behind the name at first, until we actually developed the idea further and decided to name it “Falcon Workspace Solutions”.  “When have you seen falcons sit?”,- said a team member just before we went in to present our idea. This rhetorical question at first came across as a joke and then became a fun reasoning behind the name. 

Being the project manager, it was my responsibility to assign specific roles to each team member and make sure we cover all the key points on the brief. But prior to role allocation we performed a brainstorming session of ideas; brainstorming helped us come up with a range of ideas which we then developed further. That’s where our chosen idea was born. Instead of creating a regular affordable stand up desk as mentioned in the brief, we as a group offered our client a concept that consisted of numerous regulated in height desks to suit employees/users, that when applied would build a collaborative and productive open space office environment. We decided to bring out and supply our desks in phases, in order to ensure that the employees of the businesses implementing our concept are ready for it and are open to the idea, giving them a chance to test it out, rather than being thrown into it all at once. 

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Student Apprentice Challenge

As part of Falcon Workspace Solutions’ survey with the workforce we were able to discover that the use of an accompanying health app would be viewed as an added benefit to the productivity of the employee whilst simultaneously improving their own health and well-being.  We have therefore contacted Yaantu as a possibility to collaborate in the development of an app that would be offered to the client alongside the stand-up desk proposal.

“We are not selling a product, We are selling productivity!”
- our slogan

As a team we have realised that in order to succeed within the challenge we had to work cohesively. In addition, our group had shown great collaboration throughout the two days of the challenge. When tackling each of the tasks on our to-do list, we efficiently communicated all the outcomes and information back to each other, which had a positive impact later on in our final presentation. 

Once we came up with the product, performed all the research and put together the presentation, it was then time for us to practice our pitch. It was the next challenge coming our way. In order to make sure that we impressed the client with our pitch, as a group we took some time to allocate slides to each member according to the research that they have done throughout. That allowed us to speak confidently about the topic with clear knowledge and no need to write notes. 

The next step was to present our final pitch to Will Holt, our mentor. He gave us brilliant critique and feedback which as Team Falcon we took on board and worked on during the final hour. When it came down to the final pitch, we put 100% effort and enthusiasm into it. 

After leaving the boardroom we had a great feeling, a feeling of an achievement.  I think that the 2 day apprentice style challenge was extremely beneficial to all. It helped me and other students gain skills such as time management, focus, multi-tasking ability, team work, strategy development and much more. It helped us step out of our comfort zone and try new things.  This live challenge showed us what it is like to be an actual entrepreneur and to see what you need to have in order to succeed within the profession. 

I would definitely recommend taking part in these types of challenges, events and competitions whenever you get the chance to, in order to develop your skills and knowledge for the future, so that you can become the best of the best. 

PS: Remember, every opportunity is valuable even if it is not directly related to what you’d like to do. Take every chance you have to learn something new.

Interested in studying Business the new way? Take a look at our Business School.