Heriot-Watt students win Edinburgh Apprentice challenge

Three of the top five finalists were Heriot-Watt students. From left to right: Jan Sutherland, Gizem Erdogan and Jakub Julenyi.

Heriot-Watt students celebrated success as they were awarded first and second place at the Edinburgh Apprentice, a business competition organised by Innovative Consulting University of Edinburgh and Ernst & Young.

Top five finalists

This year, Heriot-Watt dominated the competition: three of the top five finalists were Heriot-Watt students, with Gizem Erdogan (1st year student) ultimately winning the competition and a cash prize of £1000.

The competition, now in its seventh year, helps students improve their decision-making skills, develop their marketing and sales abilities and increase their knowledge of key business areas.

Over 150 students from first to fourth years took part in the challenge over five rounds. Judges from firms such as EY, RBS, ICAS, Diageo, John Lewis and Morrisons evaluated the performance of students as they progressed through the competition.

From the first round of budgeted street selling to the business consultancy case study and investment proposals, each round saw fewer and fewer contestants. Only 20 students advanced to the fourth round, from which five finalists were selected to the final round.

Three of the top five finalists were Heriot-Watt Heriot-Watt students: Jan Sutherland (4th year), Jakub Julenyi (4th year) and Gizem Erdogan (1st year). The five finalists were asked to create a smart phone app for businesses or students and make a presentation including financials, marketing and general execution of the project to the judging panel.

First and second prizes

The winners of the Edinburgh Apprentice were announced at a networking dinner: Heriot-Watt first year student, Gizem Erdogan won the first place and a £1000 cash prize and Jan Sutherland (Fourth year) was runner-up and received a cash prize of £400.

Gizem, winner of the Edinburgh Apprentice, said: "I loved The Apprentice. In the space of about five days I went from inexperienced, shaky public speaker to the confident, proactive contestant who somehow didn't cry during a 15 minute grilling from investors about my smart phone app. I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting to try something a bit different."

Runner-up Jan Shuterland said: "I was delighted to represent Heriot-Watt in a competition between all four of Edinburgh's HE institutions. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy working on the different challenges and meeting new people, the competition has boosted my confidence in terms of applying for jobs and being interviewed for potential graduate positions. As a fourth year student, I feel that this competition has provided me with valuable experience for the working world and I would recommend every student to take part."