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Team’s preparation pays off

Photo by Mark TatemBrad Kopp President & CEO Butterfield and Sir John Swan present a cheque to Bermuda Institute the Peoples Choice winners and overall winners

In the Bermuda Student Challenge on November 20, VaShon Williams, Demetria Packwood, and Reglindis Ratteray, of The Bermuda Institute, stood out from their peers. As overall winners of the competition, which was sponsored by Butterfield Bank, they won cash prizes and premiums to put towards their further education; they were also awarded the People’s Prize, which was based solely on the audience’s reaction to their presentation.Five high schools from across the Island took part in the Bermuda Student Challenge, a competition that tested their ability to solve complex business case studies in order to achieve success. Saltus, Bermuda High School, Bermuda Institute, Mount Saint Agnes Academy, Cedarbridge Academy and The Berkeley Institute each put their creative and strategic skills to work in order to determine the most beneficial ways to use financial products and services available in our community.Each team, composed of four high school students, worked as consultants for fictional families with specific needs that required detailed financial plans in order to assist them with their respective economic predicaments. The task given to each group was to provide a solution to the dilemma of their given family, with a detailed timeline of how this solution would be carried out and examples of its benefits. The teams were also challenged to provide an alternative solution, with benefits and setbacks outlined and compared to that of their initial proposed solution.With the help of an Executive Mentor and a Management Trainee Mentor, the students were asked to provide a written report that outlined their proposal, along with a public presentation. Executives from a number of Butterfield departments, and external representatives with an aptitude for business, judged each team’s presentations and reports based on their originality, credibility, validity, and overall impact on the audience during their presentation.The winners attributed their participation in this competition to a desire to gain more knowledge of the business and financial world, and credit their weekly lessons and personality for their win. When asked what they assume gave them an edge over the stiff competition, Reglindis Ratteray replied simply: “We didn’t use note cards, and we practiced a lot, so we knew our information in our head instead of just reading everything.”While the weekly lessons clearly paid off in the end, the students acknowledge that the process was challenging. Miss. Ratteray mentioned that in preparation: “We really got into it and were at the bank every day.”While for each member of the winning team, this was their first experience with financial studies, they seemed to have gained a lot out from the competition. Demetria Packwood, in response to a question of the benefits she found in the competition, said: “I learned a lot about banking products, and it helps because when I get older I’ll know what I’m looking at when I want to open an account.”While she acknowledged that a career in finance is not for her, VaShon Williams wished to expand his knowledge even further. When asked about possible career options, he responded: “I think I want to study [finance] a bit just to know more about it.” Despite their win, the difficulty of financial studies is evident. Mr. Williams confided how a “single mistake can throw off everything”.