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Engineering students win IBM prize for business brilliance

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-IBM Universities Business Challenge 2005
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Thursday 3 March 2005

A team of five Imperial students have won the IBM Universities Business Challenge 2005, beating more than 130 teams from universities across the UK. The students demonstrated their skills running fictional businesses for four months before taking first prize at the final held at IBMs South Bank headquarters on Friday 25 February.

The Imperial team acted as management consultants for a fictional brewery, a wine bar and a games company over the three rounds of the competition, which began in October 2004. They experienced all aspects of running a business, from making marketing decisions to purchasing factory space.

Team Leader Saurabh Pandya, in his fourth year of studying Computing, said:" We were really pleased to win. We took part because it sounded like fun, and it was great to meet lots of new people." Winning the competition has helped Saurabh with his career plans: "I liked looking around IBM headquarters and speaking to some of the Business Consulting Services staff, and I'm hoping to apply for a job there when I graduate, he adds."

Team members were drawn from different departments in the Faculty of Engineering - Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computing and Aeronautics. This year's victory follows on from the College's successes in the competition in both 2003 and 2004, when the Imperial teams were runners-up.

Dr Julia King, Principal of the Faculty of Engineering, said: "This is a fantastic achievement and we congratulate the team on doing so well. Skilled engineers are fundamental to the health of the UK economy and it is very important to encourage more young people to consider engineering to compensate for the current shortage. Its great that these students are showing how engineering and business go hand in hand. I look forward to following their careers, which I am sure will be very successful."

The team won a trophy and a £1,000 prize. The competition also gave students a valuable opportunity to meet senior managers of organisations such as Procter & Gamble, BAE Systems and Lloyds TSB, who hosted the semi-finals. The winning team comprised Saurabh Pandya, Computing; Yi Zhang, Mechanical Engineering; Wei Feng, Aeronautics; and Zhi Lim and Chao Yi, Electrical Engineering.