Wycombe Management Conference 2023

On the first two days of March, the Lower Sixth participated in the Wycombe Management Conference hosted by Wycombe Abbey. Together with Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, we were able to have a taste of the world of entrepreneurship and business management by running our own ‘businesses’ and tackling real-life obstacles along the way. Each team consisted of both Wycombe Abbey and Royal Grammar School pupils, working tirelessly together to maximise profits while keeping worker and customer satisfaction high. This goal was easier said than done as we put our heads together to attempt to solve the endless stream of challenges coming our way.

Over the course of the conference, we also had the opportunity to listen to engaging speeches by our keynote speakers, who consolidated their combined decades of experience into invaluable lessons to learn from. Lord Karan Billimoria shared his story of building Cobra Beer from the ground up – a journey that was far from easy and required resilience, a good team and a great deal of luck. Peter Higgins followed this with practical advice on becoming an entrepreneur, sharing his thought processes and business strategies while setting up Charles Tyrwhitt with his business partner. Finally, a Wycombe Abbey senior, Catherine Wyman (C291, 2014) spoke about the company she works in, The Technology Partnership (TTP), and her exciting work in developing cutting-edge solutions for the challenges in eye care. Having gone to Cambridge after graduating from Wycombe Abbey, she was part of the Royal Air Force as an Officer Cadet, before joining TTP and becoming the Head of Eyecare – a career journey I found particularly interesting. The Mentors must also be thanked for their compelling answers in the panel discussion and advice during the simulation. They have played a key role in being the eighth member of our 26 teams.

Having been in the winning team of the conference, I can safely say that we had our fair share of struggles to deal with, but we reaped the benefits of our hard work. Although no one in the team had any experience in managing a business before, we trusted our gut instinct, as well as each other, in making decisions under pressure. We all displayed the crucial skill of being able to express our thoughts coherently and listening to each other’s opinions, before deciding our next move. Our scorecard over the four quarters of the simulation clearly showed that we had ups and downs in terms of decision-making, but we managed to learn from our mistakes each time and improve to eventually place first on the scorecard. Being faced with unfamiliar situations will be a familiar position in our daily lives – after all, uncertainty is the only certainty there is. With so many of us hoping to become entrepreneurs ourselves, or to pursue a career in the business world, we have now learnt the importance of collaboration in unfamiliar situations. I believe that the conference has prepared us by equipping us with the skills we would need in the future.

Before long, our generation will rise to take the place of those we currently emulate. No matter the job we hold in the future, be it a conventional or unconventional career path, we have all learnt much from the Management Conference. A special thanks to all the members of staff from Wycombe Abbey and RGS High Wycombe for making this event possible through their tireless planning. We look forward to becoming mentors ourselves, sharing our stories and remembering the days we attended ManCon, in the years to come.