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German Business Student of the Year awards


Eights students of German at the University of Leeds took part in the third annual German Business Student of the Year award.

Image: The candidates (l-r) Felix Schleimer, Alastair Patrick, Annita Taylor, Ellen Macpherson, Chantal Sullivan-Thomsett, Kate Brady, Tizzy Mann and Lauren Griffiths

The competition, which is held entirely in German and is convened by the German Honorary Consul, Mr. Mark Green, sees students work in teams to deliver a 20-minute 'pitch' to a panel of prospective investors made up of judges from the world of business and academia. The eight students who made it through to the final round of the competition presented business models for products or services that could be introduced into the German market. Their aim: to receive a notional start-up investment of EUR 30,000 from critical business ‘dragons’ with a keen eye for detail and an exciting new venture. Entries included a high-end custom cake creation company and a dynamic, app-based travel companion for tourists in Germany.

This year's winners - Ellen Macpherson, Alastair Patrick and Felix Schleimer - put forward a compelling case for an internet-based search engine for booking appointments for shared-student accommodation in Germany and received a cash prize.

Image: Caption: German Honorary Consul Mr. Mark Green presents team WG Portal with their cash prize and announces the offer of interviews and internship for winners and runners-up in the 2013 German Business Student of the Year competition, held yesterday at the University of Leeds.

The pitches were preceded by a German-language talk on the importance of excellent presentation skills by 2012 winner of the competition, Pippa Pye, who works as an Analyst at Deutsche Bank. Reprising their roles as 'angel investors' were The Honorary Consul, retired barrister Mrs Anna Fleisch and Head of Germanic Studies at the University of Sheffield, Professor Henk de Berg.

Kate Brady of team KuchenKraft said “it was great afternoon! It was a great experience, even when we were under pressure from the "dragons'" gruelling questions!"

Fellow contestant Ellen Macpherson added “I'm definitely glad I took part. It was great to be involved in something which connected us to the 'big wide world' and gave us some practical experience as well as advice and feedback from experienced people! I found the feedback at the end really helpful and it was good to hear an honest opinion on how things are received by others, as well as tips on what to avoid when presenting!”

Mr. Green, who is also a commercial partner with national law firm DWF based in Leeds, praised the high standard of all presentations and said it had been very difficult for the jury to select the winners. He also thanked this years' primary sponsors, Deutsche Bank and Presspart Manufacturing Ltd, who between them will make possible internships and interviews for all students involved.

Around 20 students have now received placements since the competition was first introduced in 2011, a number leading to offers of full time jobs. Next year it is hoped to roll out the competition and offer of placements to students at other universities in the northern England.