We sat down with Katie and Lucy, Level 4/first year students at Pearson Business School, to discuss the first Industry Challenge of the year with Shell Plc.

What was your task?

Katie: We had to come up with a campaign for Shell to get women into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. This would either be through degrees or earlier on in their education, as Shell want to attract a more diverse workforce for the future.

What campaign idea did you come up with?

Lucy: We came up with the idea of a Roald Dahl based campaign as Roald Dahl was an ex-employee of Shell. It would be through an interactive animation that would be rolled out on social media. I was in a group with other people from my Law course, so it was a great opportunity to interact with other people on my course. The concept involved the creation of a Roald Dahl animation figure that users could click on and it would take them to a series of games where it would analyse whether they would work well in a STEM role. If they were successful at this, it would give them the chance to progress and meet the team within Shell and then get involved with further challenges.

Katie: We proposed an Instagram campaign, using #STEMpowered as our main hashtag to get trending. We used influencers that would appeal to younger girls doing their GCSE and A-Level qualifications as you often require a STEM subject at those levels to progress into the business. We decided to use Yewande Biala from this year’s Love Island as an influencer because she studied Biomedical Science at university; the plan was to use sponsored content to engage the wide range of followers that she has. We used that to try to get in mostly on Instagram as we recognised it as the most popular channel.

How did the presentation go?

Lucy: My team’s presentation went really well and it was really nice to be presenting not only to our tutors but also to a member of Pearson Business School’s alumni community, as she now works at Shell. It showed that we were also being recognised by someone from the actual business. It also encouraged us to be creative as we were not allowed to use electronic presentation methods such as PowerPoint, so we had to use pieces of paper and illustrations. This allowed people to show both their presenting skills and creative sides.

Katie: We sent two members of our group up to present - one girl and one boy - because we recognised that we only had two minutes for the presentation so we thought that fewer presenters would make it smoother. We chose one boy and one girl because it created a dialogue between the two individuals when discussing each of the elements of the presentation. We always made sure that we used our hashtag throughout the presentation also. It was also good that we each had a tutor from Pearson Business School assigned to our group who would give us feedback on what would apply to the business.

What top 3 skills can you take from this experience?

Katie: Firstly, presenting skills and being confident in yourself to know that you will not look silly when putting forward a new idea because everything can be up for discussion in the group. Also, communication skills were key to this task because you need to talk to the other members of the group. If you are putting an idea across, you need to ensure that everyone in the group understands. Finally, creativity because we were not allowed to use electronic presentations, we had to create posters and illustrations to make it visually engaging.

What top 3 pieces of advice can you give for an industry challenge?

Lucy: My top three would be firstly to throw yourself into the group and hit the ground running, but also make friends while doing so. Also, to be creative, because there were a lot of people doing the task so it would have been very easy for everyone’s ideas to be the same. Thirdly, would be to always keep up-to-date with the news and current affairs because encouraging women to study and work in STEM-related areas is a common theme at the moment, so it would be good to know before entering the challenge.

How do you think this complements your studies?

Lucy: I think it was amazing to have the challenge because a big part of studying at Pearson College London is having the opportunity to attend Industry Days. This challenge gave us a taste of what it is like and what is to come. Also, the winner of the challenge will be presenting their ideas to executives at Shell. This has made me realise the influence that these industry days can have on not only our studies but also the potential job opportunities that could arise.

Katie: I would agree with that and I would also say that you take away the motivation to do well because no one knew what the prize was going to be prior to the challenge but it is a big opportunity for those students, especially as we have just started higher education. It gives motivation for students to sign up to extracurricular activities that could get you a foot into the door with a company, especially if it was in a field that you wanted to go into.

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