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UCL Medical Students’ Success at PwC Opportunity Challenge – congratulations!

Weronika Z Benning2 February 2016

Congratulations to the RUMS Boat Club for winning the London heat of the PwC Opportunity Challenge last year. Thanks to Luke McEvoy for this writeup of his team’s experience, and good luck at the final!

UCL Careers shares employability competitions on our website at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/competitions.

“Arriving at their London headquarters, it’s hard not to feel impressed by the scale, not to mention location, of their building down amongst City Hall and Tower Bridge, though on this occasion the nerves of going up against some of London’s best and brightest in PwC’s Opportunity Challenge Quiz heat were at the front of our minds. We collected our team badges and shuffled into the room; lots of tables, lots of people, and I doubt that any were here just for the free refreshments. The £1000 prize money was only going to one team, and talking to some of the others we were competing with, they weren’t going to let it go easily.

Sizing up some of our opponents didn’t help our nerves. “A post-grad, you say? In commercial law?”… to say that we, three medical students, felt slightly like fish out of water would be an understatement. Luckily, as the quiz got under way, our “game-plan” or, to be frank, a few nights of curiously scrolling through the histories of auditing companies and reading up on recent financial news, started to look like it may have done us a few favours, if perhaps not putting us on quite the same level as the economics societies and budding accountants we were up against. I would say that our eventual success, however, was less attributable to that cramming, but to our diverse backgrounds and skill-sets, which gave us an aggregate knowledge on a range of topics which helped us muster enough points to stay in the game.

And stay in the game we did, despite a round which tested our powers of estimation to the very core (guessing the number of words in Harry Potter etc.) and an (almost) embarrassing lack of rugby knowledge further back than 2013. It must be said, however, that even had we not achieved victory overall, the “eureka!” moments that are so crucial to success in the “Dingbats” round (cryptic clues based on wordplay) would have given us enough minor victories to write home about. In the end though, it was all about that prize money, and there were no prizes for 2nd place.

Hearing our team name, RUMS Boat Club, called out as winners brought a wave of joy crashing over us (something I suppose a boat club should be used to, though I have never heard the Thames described as “joy”). We won a grand! Even the boat club treasurer couldn’t stress himself out over this one!
Rowing in London is an expensive venture, but as a university club we strive to keep it as open as possible and winning this means that we can make the club affordable to freshers and others within the medical school who always wanted to row but never had the opportunity. It also means we can set about making repairs to boats that have been damaged for as long as we’ve been in the club, or maybe even someday get a banner for the club that isn’t a rain-damaged bedsheet! Now, with the club behind us, and coming into racing season, it’s time to focus our attentions on the most important competition of 2016… the PwC Opportunity Challenge final.”

By Luke McEvoy

From PwC’s website:  “Our Opportunity Challenge gives student clubs and societies the chance to compete against each other with financial funding up for grabs to help support your club or society. We’ll run separate university heats with the winners of each receiving a prize of £1,000. These teams will then enter the national final which will be held at an exclusive event in PwC’s More London office to battle it out for an additional prize of £10,000.”