Computing students from the University of Northampton had the chance to test their inner ‘Apprentice’ by taking part in a Business Challenge, with leading auditing company KMPG.
By working in groups, the 20 students who took part in the two-day event were given a challenge based on a real-life business problem which they had to research, interview clients and deliver a 30-minute presentation outlining the proposed solution.
Their task was to access the software needs for an aircraft manufacturing company. They needed to understand the current business mode – its strengths and limitations – and then create an appropriate strategy for the development of a software solution to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the business. The students presented their ideas to the key project stakeholders, who decided which approach was the best for their company.
The winning team consisted of Kyle Barth, Rhys Sharratt, Lucy Hollyer, Kelly Nicole and Stephen Ledger.
Lucy Hollyer said: “The event was a fantastic insight into the real world of software development by involving members from both the ecommerce business analyst team and the programming team.
“It was interesting to see how our simulated client briefs provided by lecturers were very similar to industry briefs. After the event I feel so much more confident in my analysis and presentation skills, especially pitching why KPMG would be best suited to solve the business’s problems.”
Kyle Barth commented: “I found the experience very enjoyable. I learned how to deal with tough questions during presentations and it really helped refresh my teamwork abilities; especially under pressure with tight time constraints.
“I think it will definitely help me a lot in industry as these skills are relevant to being a successful software engineer.”
Pascal Kreukniet, Senior Manager – Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations, said: “For KPMG inaugural business event for students, we couldn’t have hoped for a more committed and capable group with a great mix of skills.”
Mark Johnson, Deputy Head of Computing at the University of Northampton, said: “The event was organised specifically for our students, initially through one of my former students who has done amazingly well working for KPMG. Our students were able to gain real-life industry experience that helps them build their confidence and boosts their CVs when it comes to applying for jobs.
“It also gave KPMG the opportunity to see first-hand the capability of our students, with a view to potentially offering internships and graduate jobs to any high-flying candidates.”