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Duchy degree students achieve Royal success

Published: June 8, 2016

Duchy College Rosewarne | Stoke Climsland University

A team of undergraduates from Duchy College have won the ‘Three Counties Agricultural Society’s Strategy Competition’.  The national initiative is open to students from across the country and asks them to look at the future of the Three Counties Agricultural Show; highlighting new opportunities and how they could increase visitor numbers.

The students, who were studying on the BSc (Hons) Rural Business Management (RBM) and BSc (Hons) Agriculture and Food (Agrifood) courses, carried this out as a key part of their ‘Marketing’ module and the three Duchy student teams had to compete against students from other universities and colleges.

Rural Business School Marketing Module Leader, Paul Ward, said: “I am delighted that our students not only won the competition, but we were the only college in the country to have two teams shortlisted.  It is not often that undergraduates can interrogate the chief executive of a multi-million pound business, but that was just the exciting opportunity the students were given prior to producing their report.”

At the end of last year, they travelled to Malvern to meet the CEO, and senior managers of the Royal Three Counties, where they were briefed about the Show and the competition, shown around the site and given a chance to question the senior management team in depth about all aspects of their operations.

CEO of the Three Counties Agricultural Society, Ken Nottage, said: “We were looking to be presented with original ideas, a passion for making a difference and limitless creativity and aspiration.”

All of the submissions were assessed by the Royal Three Counties Show’s (RTCS’s) senior management and then sent to a panel of Council Members to consider.  Both staff and students were excited when they were informed that there were two clearly outstanding reports – both from Duchy.

Paul Ward continued: “What was even more interesting is that both reports had different strengths and neither was consistently being assessed as the best; so the two teams were invited back to Malvern for a formal presentation of their findings and questioning by the RTCS assessment panel with observers from the council members.”

The team consisting of Daniel Halford, Douglas Little, Ryan Renfree, Ross Symons and Michal Szczesniak eventually came out as winners on the day.  Their prize is an all-expenses paid trip to the Paris International Agricultural Show 2017, an invitation to the show in June to receive their awards and an invitation to join the Royal Three Counties Show Committee for a year.  The Runner-up team of Rose Disney, Gemma Hearn, Lynne Maud and Emma Pethick came so close that they will also receive cash prizes.

Paul added: “Combining a real-life consultancy report with an academic assignment was not easy, but the students rose to the challenge and worked hard, knowing that their strategy would be seriously considered on a professional basis and potentially actioned. They obviously gave the Show’s directors plenty of food for thought.”

Course Manager (RBM) and HE Team Lead for Rural Business, Countryside & Horticulture Dr Jurie Intachat, added: “This was an excellent opportunity for the students to apply the marketing theories from their studies in a real-life situation.”

The Royal Three Counties Show is the flagship event of the Three Counties Agricultural Society and most recently gained its ‘Royal’ title and patronage from HRH The Princess Royal.  The Royal Three Counties Show will be held at Malvern, on the 17-19 of June when the students will receive their awards.

The BSc (Hons) in Rural Business Management course is designed for students who already have a Foundation Degree or HND in any land based and business subject e.g. agriculture, agri-food, animal management, equine, environment, estate or leisure to gain a full BSc (Hons) Degree. This course would also be of interest to those already working in these sectors looking to progress and develop higher level skills.

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