Top team wins IBM Universities Business Challenge

Published: 25 March 2008 at 16:14

German students deliver in competition designed to improve employability skills.

A team of budding business students from Anglia Ruskin University,  including Stefan Muench, Daniel Kunert, Philip Gotter and Felix Richter, has won the finals of the Universities Business Challenge (UBC) at IBM headquarters at Bedfont Lakes, Feltham, Middlesex.

The team members, all from Germany and final year undergraduates on Anglia Ruskin’s BA Hons International Business degree programme, were recruited and coached by Robert Jones, who leads Entrepreneurship and Innovation studies at the Ashcroft International Business School, and has been the force behind many similar business skills challenges including the University’s own versionof Dragon’s Den and the Make Your Mark Challenge.

He said:

“This is a truly impressive result for Anglia Ruskin University and we are very proud of our team.”

“The IBM UBC competition is a great way of integrating learning from the disciplines of operations, marketing, finance and strategy. When teamwork, time pressures and adrenaline are added to this formula, students see what real-life business is all about.”

Professor Stuart Wall, Head of Department of the Business School added:

“This is brilliant news. The team has even surpassed the thrilling second place we achieved two years ago in this premier university competition.”

The Universities Business Challenge is not just for Business Studies students. Students of Information Technology, Engineering, Law, Mathematics, Accounting, Medicine and a wide range of Arts and Sciences faculties also participate in the challenge having gained an invaluable understanding of the business world through their studies.

Participating undergraduates who have taken part in the IBM UBC have confirmed that skills they have gained directly from this competition have helped them make a smoother transition from university to the world of work.

Over the four rounds of the business challenge, the team beat top competition from University of York, Imperial Tanaka, Imperial College, Royal Holloway, Leeds Metropolitan University, Bristol University, Exeter University, University of Abertay and the University of West Scotland.

The Anglia Ruskin team achieved a final profit result of £305 million, the University of Exeter team was second with £212 million and Leeds Metropolitan University was third with £174 million.

Professor Mike Thorne, Vice Chancellor, conveyed his congratulations to the team when he said:

“This is a superb achievement for Stefan, Daniel, Philip and Felix who have proved that they are the best of the best.  We are delighted with the news that they are IBM Universities Challenge winners which will act as an excellent launch pad for them as they look to the future to develop their careers.”

The four-man team have worked very hard since October, winning through the heats that involved 232 university teams, winning their semi-final at Portsmouth, before going on to become winners.

Larry Hirst, Country General Manager of IBM UK, gave a presentation and then held a Q&A session with the 48 students at the finals. Earlier that day, Larry had been at a business meeting with Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Larry complimented the students for the toughness of their questions and for their enthusiasm.

Jane Redhead, from Learning Dynamics Ltd, the company that runs the UBC competition, said,

“I want to say a huge congratulations to Anglia Ruskin, and can honestly say that was the best grand final we have run.”

“The professionalism and the way all participants conducted themselves during the day was a credit to all the universities. Thanks again for being such great participants. You all have great careers ahead of you and your universities must be exceptionally proud of you all.”

Previous winners have included: Manchester Business School, Imperial College, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Durham, Cambridge, Swansea, Farnborough and Sussex.

Next year the IBM UBC is going global, opening its competition to teams in South Africa and India.  For more information, on the competition, see and