To many in the Downe House community, the camera company Lipex, may not be a familiar one, but parents and teachers will be kicking themselves for not investing in its future. The company, led by six pupils in the Upper Sixth, has recorded an all-time high in profits, seeing its share price nearly treble from 59 pence per share 12 months ago to £1.99 per share today. Company bosses have expressed their delight and are looking confidently to the future and considering a break into the corporate digital imaging market.
The company is of course fictional, but the play out is incredibly real for the six Upper Sixth pupils involved. Arella, Charlie, Abby, Anna, Daisy and Eva are taking part in a Business Simulation competition which forms part of a Mini MBA taster in the Academic Enrichment and Life Skills Programme.
The Business Simulation course is a 5-week competition designed to help students develop their inter-personal stills, emotional intelligence and business acumen. The initiative was developed by Ashridge Executive Education at Hult International Business School, one of the world’s leading providers of executive education programmes. In teams, pupils have taken over a virtual camera business which has been in trading for three years.
Coming together as a new board of Directors, the team is responsible for formulating and implementing a successful strategy for the company. In the simulated environment, time moves quickly with one year passing in a week, and teams have to make important decisions to secure their futures. All the businesses have different starting points and different histories but all have a fair chance of winning the competition. Anything can change between now and the end of the competition, in another virtual three years’ time. Over the next few sessions, girls will be exploring the impact of their own and others’ strategic decisions on the individual businesses and on the markets in which they operate.
Georgina, whose company, CamCrew, recorded slightly less favourable profits this year, has worked well with her team to identify their mistakes and correct them. “With advice from the team at Ashridge, we have tweaked our products, quantities, pricing and advertising to fine tune our company and project it into a different niche market in the hope of elevating our gross margins and raising share prices. Time will tell with the next set of results.”
Anna, one of the company directors for Lipex, says she has loved the opportunity to hone her strategy, finance and team-working skills during the simulation, “My favourite course so far has got to be the Mini MBA, where we were assigned a group and given the tools to practically take over an online business. This has enabled us to work collaboratively to gain a better understanding of general business management functions, and what different skills are needed in setting up a business.”
Anna has also taken up courses in International Relations, Psychology, History of Art, Cookery and First Aid as part of the Upper Sixth Academic Enrichment and Life Skills Programme. She says she is grateful to gain a real insight into topics which she would not normally study and receive expert tuition not only from teachers at Downe but from a vast array of external guests, including Downe House alumnae and parents.
Whilst stimulating my mind, these courses have also been such a wonderful way of keeping us all busy and have enabled us to work with different people virtually. I am excited to have acquired so many new skills.
The Upper Sixth Academic Enrichment and Life Skills Programme is a bespoke online programme of short courses and individual workshops to challenge, inspire and prepare the girls for life beyond School. Other courses offered include: