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MBA Boardroom Exercise 2017: Reflections from our Galpin Trophy winners

When our Full-time MBA students reflect back on their time here at the Business School, the annual Boardroom Exercise is a memorable aspect of the programme. Challenging, yet rewarding, the Boardroom Exercise simulates a real-life scenario providing students with the opportunity to apply what they’ve learnt over the last nine months.

The Exercise replicates that of a real leadership challenge with the students playing the roles of an Executive team of a FTSE 100 company in a simulated boardroom meeting.

This year, two groups received an award: for Best Overall Performance and for the Most Innovative Business Proposal

The Galpin Trophy for Best Overall Performance was awarded to Group 2: Prateek Biyani; Ignacio De-Orue-Monteverde; Yiwen Gong; Jonas Jorgensen; Hieu Nguyen; Pradeep Venkatasamy; Wen Wang. This group was chaired by Fiona Stanfield, with Frank Stephenson, Phil Boyd and Chris Johns as NEDs.

Some of our winners of The Galpin Trophy have shared their experiences with us since the finale of the Boardroom Exercise:

Ignacio De Orue, Full-time MBA (2016/17):

“The Boardroom Exercise was a fantastic experience that allowed me to develop a strong set of skills to use in my next professional challenge. Our key to success was focusing on the following elements:

“Delegating specific responsibilities: It was important as the leader, to make sure each of the members of my team understood their new responsibilities. I emphasised the expected results, clarified our objectives, and made a deadline matrix that everyone could follow.

“Monitor progress in appropriate ways: I know how difficult it is to achieve a balance between control and delegation. I set up review meetings to monitor my team’s progress without having to supervise too closely.

“Mistakes as a learning process: Lastly, the final key to our success was to use our mistakes as part of our learning experiences. This allowed us to discuss the reasons for the mistakes and identify ways to avoid similar ones in the future.

“The boardroom exercise gave me the confidence to lead any team in my next professional challenge. I have a strong commitment to pursue the path to achieve ever more ambitious challenges, and become an integral leader who contributes to the development of a more sustainable and progressive society.”

Hieu Nguyen, Full-time MBA (2016/17):

“The Boardroom Exercise is one of the most useful aspects of the Durham Full-time MBA. In the Exercise we acted as Executive Directors at Whitbread Plc, the UK multinational hotel, coffee shop and restaurant group, working together with very experienced Chairwoman and Non-executive Directors (NEDs) to monitor the group’s business and develop strategic business proposals for the next 3-5 years.

“My group and I have enhanced our board-level corporate governance, strategic management and analysis, business acumen, communication and teamwork skills. We applied the knowledge, skills and experience accumulated throughout the MBA programme, as well as in our professional positions to the board. We also demonstrated diligence, commitment and mindfulness in this exercise. These essential qualities together with excellent interpersonal skills in a culturally diverse, complex and challenging working environment are crucial for business leaders in international contexts. My team and I will definitely apply these vital competences into our future work places.” 

Pradeep Venkatasamy, Full-time MBA (2016/17):

“The elevator pitch technique and communication skills learnt during the Boardroom Exercise will prove to be very useful throughout the rest of my career. I gained a broader knowledge of strategic thinking styles from other members in our team and I also learnt that demonstrating developing trust between team members and putting forward strong values related to ethics are vital for an effective director to succeed in a boardroom.

“Furthermore, the Exercise has taught me that commercial knowledge and awareness are essential to be an effective director in a boardroom. I decided to read newspapers and listen to the news every day to further develop this awareness.

 “In addition, the other key skills gained from the Boardroom Exercise are, decision making, problem solving, technical skills and comprehensive knowledge in accounts and finance.”

The DUBS Innovation Award for Most Innovative Business Proposal sponsored by The Development Space and Hartexpo was awarded to Group 1: Nabil Parkar; Federico Alberini; Lim Chong; Sharon Guo; Erica Han; Kamal Yadav; Wenhao Yang.

This group was chaired by Anthony Carey, with Mike Burrett, Susan Johnson and Alexey Buditskiy as NEDs. Their proposal was for Snoozebox, a modular hotel concept with rooms created from cargo containers. You can read about what some of the team members said about their experiences here.

Congratulations, again to both teams!

You can read more about our MBA programmes here.