How I Became a Warwick Apprentice Finalist
A couple of weeks ago, I took part in a competition called ‘The Warwick Apprentice’. This was run by Warwick Entrepreneurs, a society which aims to inspire students with an entrepreneurial spirit and encourage a culture of innovation, inspiration and collaboration. Much like the TV show, the participating teams are given challenges that they must complete during a set time period and teams get eliminated, so that by the end of the week, there are only three teams remaining.
I first heard about the Warwick Apprentice last year when I was a Fresher, and I fell in love with the concept immediately. I tried to get a couple of my girl friends together but unfortunately it fell through as we weren’t well informed enough. However, I was determined to do it the following year, and as if by fate, this year one of my close friends messaged me a week before the submission deadline asking if I wanted to be part of his team. As soon as he told me he was ‘recruiting’ people for his team, I knew that this was a lot more organised than my team from last year. He asked me for my strengths, skills, and what I could bring to the team. After a few days, he brought together a team of three boys, two girls, who later became known as Invictus.
On the evening of Monday 22nd, over 50 groups of students gathered to find out the first task that we would be given. Each team was handed a set of five items that we had to trade for higher value items. Our so called ‘goodie bag’ consisted of a pen, a portable charger, a keyring and a pound coin. We had 20 hours in order to trade these items before we had to attend the second meeting to find out which teams had been eliminated. It was a hard challenge, and my team took a long time preparing for it rather than getting started straight away. We wanted to plan our stratergies, as well as potential loop holes in the challenge. For example, we realised that we didn’t just have to trade one item for another: instead, we could trade one item for multiple items, and therefore gain more items with higher added value. Tuesday was thus spend hussling. We contacted our friends, we went through halls, and we approached strangers. This task tested our confidence as well as our persuasion skills. After all, why would a person want to trade one of their possessions in order to obtain a keyring, that they might not necessarily need? The answer is that Joe-bloggs probably wouldn’t, but thanks to our persuasive skills, we got through to the next round.
Task two was one that I personally found most challenging. With the goods that we collected, our task was now to sell them on. It meant a lot of use of social media, as well as accepting lower prices in order to get a sale. Nevertheless, it taught me the kindness and generosity of friends, who were willing to help out in times of need.
As if by miracle, we got to the third round. Many were getting very tired at this point, as we were very conscious of the fact that we had only 20 hours to complete each of our tasks, and during that time we had to schedule in time for rest, eat, as well as plan potential stratergies. Our third and penultimate task consisted of creating a ‘viral’ video, advertising a drink. Invictus chose to create a hangover cure, and our video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lYCh1lPCFk
The hardest part wasn’t creating the video. That was made in under three hours (then again I guess what really makes it is that girl’s amazing acting skills [it’s me guys…]). No, the hardest part was getting people to view the video. We shared it on all our social media; Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, even we even changed our Facebook cover photos in attempt to promote it. For anyone reading this blog who hopes to do it next year and who want a creative idea, try face to face promoting. My teammate and I walked around campus offering free brownies to anyone who would be willing to listen to us and watch our video. It was an inventive way to promote our brand, and it got us through into the finals.
There were only three teams left. The final challenge was to think of a something which would solve a transport issue, and promote our idea to a panel of external judges. I distictly remember staying up until 2am thinking of an idea, and when failing to do so, waking up again at 8am to have a group call with the team in order to assimilate our ideas. In the end, we decided to create an app which would aid people be more eco-friendly by providing alternative routes to their desired destination. We worked non stop, and by 4PM, we had a speech ready for the judges. Everything was recorded for a live online audience as well as for an auditorium full of students, so you might imagine how nervous we all were. We were all running on less than 6 hours of sleep too, and in all honesty, I think it was the adrenaline that kept us from passing out. However, I think all the teams did an amazing job in such a short amount of time, and I am so proud of all that we achieved. In the end, we came a close second, but second nonetheless.
The whole experience was a great learning curve for me. I would recommend this challenge to anyone who is a student at the University of Warwick. It taught me the value of good communication, good teamwork, but most of all, great friendships. Whilst we did not win the cheque of £1000, there can be no price placed on the lessons that I learnt through this challenge.
Thank you to everyone’s love and support.