'Lifetime achievement' for two top-performing students in global competition

Two students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are the only UK students in the winning teams of the X-Culture global business competition.

The project sees more than 5,000 students take part across 150 universities, six continents and more than 40 countries. Out of the 1,178 teams participating, Carolyn Singleton and Rebecca Parkinson were in the top 27 winning teams.

X-Culture article image

Carolyn Singleton (left) and Rebecca Parkinson (right) with tutor Ellie Hickman

X-Culture was launched at DMU this year for final year students on marketing courses to compete in virtual teams, creating a business report for live clients.

International Business and Marketing student Carolyn said: “I still can’t believe we’ve won, to be honest it doesn’t seem real. It’s definitely a lifetime achievement for me.”

For the competition, Carolyn’s team worked on a live brief for Calgary International Airport, a not for profit airport in Canada. The students worked to overcome typical challenges associated with group work, such as cooperation and communication, while simultaneously overcoming differences in time zones and culture.

The 25-year-old from Lancashire said: “It was definitely a challenge, I even considered giving up at times, but it made it all the more rewarding when we finished.”

DMU is one of two UK universities running the project, which seeks to give students international business experience before even graduating.

Carolyn said: “It’s incredible that we had this opportunity at DMU, these experiences are invaluable, and being able to push yourself out of your comfort zone makes a degree programme much more exciting.”


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For the competition, Marketing student Rebecca’s team worked on a live brief for a newly launched French skincare company based on biomedical technology.

The 20-year-old from Nottinghamshire said: “The biggest challenge for the project was definitely communication. We had to work across different time zones, so trying to delegate work fairly was hard at times.

“I think this project has really given us a competitive advantage when it comes to looking for jobs after university. We’ve got something different on our CVs that will be interesting to future employers – plus, we’re the only two winners in the country.”

The project has given the students a clear idea of what they want to do after graduating, with Rebecca looking to further her studies with a master’s before moving into agency work.

Carolyn said: “Completing this project has given me a real grasp of what it could be like to work in this field, so I definitely want to work in marketing after I graduate.”

The project was led and supervised by senior lecturer in marketing Ellie Hickman, who also received an award for being named one of the best instructors in the competition.

She said: “It’s a real testament and credit to the hard work of my students that I’ve won this award. They have all worked so hard and they absolutely deserved to win.

“This is an amazing achievement for them, and it’s a great thing for them to add to their CVs. I’m really proud of them.”

The winning students have also been invited to a symposium in Singapore for the X-Culture Global Business Week, giving them the opportunity to build their international networks and continue to develop their business skills.

Posted on Thursday 27th February 2020

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