Business School 'Dragons' support Mount St Mary's High School

An academic team from the Management Department recently spent a rewarding afternoon acting as dragons in the “Dragons’ Den”.

As part of the University’s activities to engage with the local community, an academic team from the Business School’s Management Department recently spent a rewarding afternoon acting as dragons in the “Dragons’ Den” for Year 7 students at Mount St Mary’s High School in Leeds.

The students and their teachers have been working with We are IVE, led by Sarah Mumford, on an “Applied Creativity Lab” funded by the Shine Trust. While the project focused on creating ideas to reduce food waste, the students have also had the opportunity to develop many of the creative and wider skills they’ll need to succeed in their future lives and careers.

The ‘Dragons’ team, consisting of Professor Lynda Song, Associate Professor Tony Morgan, Associate Professor Shahla Ghobadi and Dr Nicola Bown listened to eight quickfire pitch-style presentations, asked questions and provided feedback. Associate Professor Ghobadi commented:

This was a great event. I loved how many of the students ended their presentations with powerful messages for social change, and also some of the feasible solutions designed to create behavioural changes.

Dr Bown agreed, saying:

We were amazed by the wide range of ideas the students covered, from digital and gamification-based solutions focused on changing consumer behaviour to ideas for physical products and scientific breakthroughs to address and eliminate waste.

Associate Professor Morgan, who teaches a similar module at the Business School, added:

The standard, particularly considering the age of the students, was extremely high. I loved it when we were invited to close our eyes and imagine a different future. Such a vivid picture was painted. For Year 7 students to have developed such skills is tremendous.

Professor Song thanked Sarah Mumford, the school’s teachers (led by Mr Stuart Lawson) and particularly the students for inviting the team to the event, saying:

It was a fantastic way for the University of Leeds to engage with and support one of our local schools. We’d be delighted to return if the school runs the same event next year.

The Business School’s team and St Mary’s High School are now discussing opportunities for the school’s students to visit the University.