Wycombe Management Conference 2022

Wycombe Management Conference 2022

Last week, the Lower Sixth (LVI) had the opportunity to take part in the annual Management Conference, hosted by Wycombe Abbey, in partnership with the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. The Conference, which is a highlight of the LVI academic year, had been held remotely in 2021 due to the pandemic, so everyone was highly anticipating the in-person experience as things were slowly shifting back to normal. The Conference is an opportunity for delegates to get a feel of the world of entrepreneurship through a two-day simulation, in which they are put into mixed teams and ‘run’ their own business (for us, coffee shops) while tackling unforeseen challenges along the way. The aim was to generate the most profit for our coffee shops whilst maintaining a high level of customer service and appreciation for our workers. This sounded like a relatively straightforward aim to me at first, but little did I know that just like in a competitive market, unintended setbacks must always be expected!

We listened to a number of presentations from influential CEOs and entrepreneurs. We heard from Lord Karan Bilimoria on his inspiring career and the establishment of Cobra Beer; I particularly valued his advice on seizing every opportunity that comes our way. Peter Higgins followed this with practical advice on becoming an entrepreneur, sharing his experience and impressive career in the field to demonstrate the ups and downs of running a business. To end on a high note, Tamsin Todd spoke about the ‘catapults’ while setting up firms, and encouraged us to take risks, even if we may not initially succeed. The Mentors must also be thanked for their compelling answers in the panel discussion and advice during the simulation. They have, most critically, emphasised the importance of having a mentor in real life.

I was really lucky in that I had an enthusiastic and committed team to work with, which proved Lord Bilimoria’s words true: “if you want to get there fast, go alone, but if you want to get far, go together.” Our efficient team dynamic also meant that making decisions under pressure, including whether to raise our coffee prices or up the wages of our workers, was both thrilling and highly rewarding. Most importantly, I was able to develop the invaluable skill of structuring my thoughts and expressing ideas in a coherent manner, especially when racing against the clock.

As a delegate representing Wycombe Abbey, it was an honour for me to deliver the closing speech at the Management Conference. It was through reflection on my experiences that I realised how crucial it is that we have these opportunities because these simulations resemble the mechanism of a competitive market in the real world. With so many of us having ambitions of setting up our own businesses, I understood the importance of collaboration in unfamiliar situations – a skill that makes us slightly more well-equipped to deal with these situations in the future!

The future is in our hands, and it is this generation’s responsibility to carry the legacy of those we have heard from going forwards. Even for those who are not aspiring CEOs, the Management Conference taught valuable life lessons that have better prepared us for our careers (which are now not so far away!), no matter which field they lie in. I thank all the members of staff from Wycombe Abbey and RGS High Wycombe for making this event possible through their invaluable efforts. Hopefully, when we are the CEOs of big multinationals, we will be able to think back to this moment and realise how far we have come.

Kamilla, LVI

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