Principal Teacher of Business Education and Computing Science, Amanda Hammersley and Advanced Higher Business teacher, Carol Campbell, introduced the girls in the Advanced Higher class to the competition last October.
The competition encouraged teams of girls to take on the role of Investment Analysts. They had to select a company from a Companies Crib Sheet, which included 34 companies listed on stock markets across the world then research information on their chosen company, analyse the information then pitch a clear persuasive case to investors.
Amanda Hammersley said: “Carol Campbell and I thought the competition sounded really interesting. We spoke to the girls studying Advanced Higher Business about the competition and they were really keen to take part.
“They selected a company called ‘illumini’, which is a world leader in next-generation sequencing using technology to track transmission of diseases, conducting surveillance, developing therapies and vaccines. The girls thought this sounded really interesting, but little did any of us know how ‘interesting’ life was going to become just a few short weeks later and just how relevant this company would be during the Coronavirus pandemic.”
The team from Auchinleck Academy had been assigned a female mentor and worked with a finance professional from Canada on their initial pitch. The school also organised a business lunch back in February for a representative from Future Asset to meet the team and discuss their research and analysis.
The team finalised their report just as lockdown was called on Monday 23 March but they continued to work hard on their video pitch at home, each member recording their own part remotely, using Glow Teams to keep in contact with their teachers. All this hard work paid off and last month the school was informed that they were through to the final four teams in the competition.
Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning said: “This wonderful team from Auchinleck Academy, namely Ailey, Abbie, Eva, Alice and Katie, had made it all the way to the final of a major competition. The final should have been held in Edinburgh, but the girls were not disheartened by this being cancelled. They worked really hard preparing for their online interview, even making contact with the Business Director of their chosen business in America.
“In the final, which was held online at the start of June, they faced six judges, including an Investment Analyst from Kennox Asset Management, the founder of Young Money Blog and Fund Managers from Ernst Young and Standard Life Wealth, and last week we heard that they had won, lifting the title of Scottish champions, securing £1000 for their school and £200 each.
“I am incredibly proud of these young women who are all going to be studying business at university or college after the summer. They showed insight, tenacity, bravery and resilience to win this competition. Faced with the challenges of lockdown, the team and their teachers weren’t phased, they pressed ahead, learning at home and achieving. They are a credit to their families, their school and East Ayrshire as a whole.
“It is amazing what can be achieved when we all work together and that is an important lesson to remember during these difficult times.”