Outstanding students benefit from industry backing

Balmoral Prize recipientsThree recent graduates of the Masters in Project Management programme at Robert Gordon University, who have excelled in their area of study, are to benefit from a share of £5,000 in the form of the annual Balmoral Offshore Engineering Prize.

This is the second year running that the Aberdeen-based subsea equipment manufacturing company has sponsored the prize for Aberdeen Business School students, viewing it as an important link between industry and academia, as well as providing a real boost to students on the project management course. Each student had to submit a research proposal to enter the competition and these have been rated so highly by assessors that plans are now in place to take the best forward to the next stage of research.

James Milne, Chairman and Managing Director of Balmoral Group, said: "It is remarkable what a fresh pair of eyes can bring to a project and our collaboration with the students and staff of Aberdeen Business School, both in terms of this competition and the placement opportunities we offer students, is truly a win-win situation."

Sara Kavanagh (26) from Co Wicklow in Ireland has been awarded first prize in the competition and a cheque for £2,500 that will help to support her as she looks for a job in London. Her project management proposal centred around measuring the extent of application of project governance and its relationship to project success in the oil and gas service sector.

Sara explained: "In light of recent high-profile project failures and corporate scandal, I think it's important to underline the need for accountability and responsibility within project environments. I have enjoyed the cross-industry relevance of the course and feel that I have gained both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential for a career in project management. I'm really pleased to have won this award."

Babatunde Odunlami (28) and Christiana Fowode (29) who are both originally from Lagos in Nigeria have achieved second and third place in the competition and were awarded cheques for £1,500 and £1,000 respectively.

All three students are delighted with the support they have received from lecturers and industry mentors. Babatunde commented: "It is great to see companies recognising the benefits of working with students. It provides us with a big spring board to strive for recognition through competitions like this, and gain some valuable experience of working with industry professionals. We are extremely grateful to all those involved."

Senga Briggs, Programme Leader for Project Management at Aberdeen Business School, added: "These students each boast an 80% + pass rate for their dissertations and this is testament to the high standard of their work. They have looked at real issues within real organisations and have come up with innovative ideas that could help push business forward. It is brilliant to see students benefitting from industry-academic collaborations such as this."