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July - September 2007 News Items

MSc Finance student scoops £3,000 investment prize

Queen’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ Teaching Fellow recognised

BSc Management student becomes Queen’s Student of the Year 2007  

Graduation sunshine and showers

Belfast Internet entrepreneur set to graduate

MSc Finance student scoops £3,000 investment prize

Financial education charity, the ifs School of Finance, announced that Martin Conway an MSc Finance student at Queen’s University Belfast won the postgraduate league of the annual ifs Uni Investor Challenge – collecting  £3,000 as a result.

The ifs Uni Investor Challenge is a two part challenge open to any University student in the UK. The Challenge is split into two categories – undergraduate and postgraduate - and involves investing a fantasy £100,000 over a three month period. The top 20 performing portfolio holders i.e. the University students who achieve the greatest growth over this three month period, then have to write an investment report detailing why they made the investment decisions they did.

Rod McKee, head of financial capability at the ifs School of Finance, said:
“The ifs challenge helps students become more engaged with business, economics and the financial media as well as providing some practical experience in a risk-free environment.  Martin has done tremendously well to outperform students from 100 HE institutions across the UK and his hard work has secured deserved rewards.”

Martin said, “All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the Uni-investor challenge. I have no doubt that I will be trading shares in the future and my experience gained in this competition will stand me in good stead. I would recommend it to any student regardless of academic background.”

Asked what he planned to do with his £3,000 prize, Martin proved he has caught the investment bug by confirming, “I am hoping to open a mini stock and shares ISA with the winnings.”

More information about the ifs Uni Investor Challenge can be found online at:

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Queen's 'Dragon's Den' Teaching Fellow recognised

Queen's University lecturer David Gibson has become the first recipient of a National Teaching Fellowship for Enterprise in Education in the UK. From Broughshane, Co. Antrim, the Senior Teaching Fellow in Entrepreneurship in the School of Management and Economics at Queen’s was recognised for his evolving teaching practices, including inspiring business simulation projects similar to the BBC programme, 'Dragon’s Den'.

David was chosen from 223 nominations and is one of 50 individual award winners for 2007. He will receive £10,000 to support his learning and teaching activities at an awards ceremony in London on 19 September.

Speaking about his teaching methods, David said: “The focus of my teaching is not to show students how to become the next Richard Branson but to be more enterprising and innovative in whichever career they choose”.

“It is very rewarding to see the students develop and succeed. In lectures, they are initially out of their comfort zone, but the creation of a fun learning environment encourages them to respond. This award recognising my work is, in itself, also very rewarding”.

Business and Management Studies (including accounting and finance), all of which are based within the School of Management and Economics at Queen’s, was recently ranked in the top ten in the UK Guardian University Guide 2008. Since joining the School in 2002, David has also embedded enterprise into the curriculum within 24 disciplines across the University. He has also been recognised for his business simulation assessment project where students are assessed on their performance at ‘live’ networking events and on their negotiating skills.

Since being published in 2006, David’s book ‘Efactor’ has been adopted as a core text by over 30 Universities in the UK. Another of David’s publications ‘Student Enterprise - The Streetwise Guide’ is due for publication in September 2007.

The Academy’s National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS), recognises and rewards teachers and learning support staff in higher education in England and Northern Ireland for their excellence in teaching. 

Media enquiries to Roisin Duffy, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5391 or email .


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BSc Management student becomes Queen's Student of the Year 2007

An international student described as 'inspirational' has picked up the Student of the Year title.

Chinese student Yu Huai Zhang’s (known to all as Neo) inspirational story of his experiences at Queen's and in Northern Ireland secured him the Student of the Year Award for his unique contribution to student life at the University. 

Neo recently won UK International Student of the Year, when he beat off stiff competition from more than 2000 students representing 130 nationalities, to win the title and the £2,000 prize.

Neo was the first Chinese national to become a student officer at Queen's. He has been active in promoting multi-culturalism and diversity by organising events, writing articles for the University's newspapers and presenting a talk-show on Queen's Radio. As Deputy Convenor of the National Union of Students and Student Union of Ireland (NUS-USI), he organised a cross-campus "Multicultural Awareness Training" event, which resulted in his being asked to help translate a prisoners' handbook into Mandarin and Cantonese. He also served as NUS-USI's Student Volunteering Officer.

During his internship with Invest Northern Ireland he was voted Best Newcomer 2006 by his colleagues, in recognition of both his work performance and his commitment to voluntary activities.

Delivering the citation, Students’ Union President John Roger said: “Achievements such as Neo’s mark Queen’s out as a university of international standing. He has made an inspirational contribution to student life.”

The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards were launched in 1999 by the Queen’s Graduates Association and the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office, with the support of First Trust Bank. The Awards aim to recognise excellence, achievement or service by Queen’s alumni and students, either to the University or to the wider community.

Yu Huai Zhang (Neo) receives the Queen’s Student of the Year 2007 award - 4th July 2007

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Graduation sunshine and showers

Students from the School of Management and Economics graduated today in a mixture of warm sunshine and showers.

Including those to graduate was Rory Maguire who was awarded a BSc in Management with First Class Honours.Rory was also awarded the inaugural Bombardier Prize for Supply Chain Management, being the best student in the third year Supply Chain Management module.

4 July 2007

Rory Maguire - Prize Winner of the Inaugural Award:
“The Bombardier Prize for Supply Chain Management”
Left to right:
Dr Benn Lawson, Stephen Carlin [Bombardier Aerospace], Dr Patrick McCole, Rory Maguire, John Richie [Bombardier Aerospace]




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Belfast Internet entrepreneur set to graduate

One of Northern Ireland's brightest young business entrepreneurs will graduate from Queen's University today with a Single Honours in Business Economics (BSc).

At the age of 21, Castlereagh student Neil Flanigan has already demonstrated his entrepreneurial flair with the opening of his NoGeeks internet outlets in Belfast’s Castlecourt Shopping Centre and Belfast International Airport.

Recalling his early business moves, Neil said: “I started the cafes four years ago. It has been a fantastic way to pay my way through Queen’s. What you need is the right location and the right rental deal and then you employ your staff. We have everyone using the outlets from four year old kids playing games to 84 year old grannies booking flights for holidays. When you consider 16 million people a year move through Castlecourt we are ideally placed.”

Recommending entrepreneurship for young people, Neil added: “If you have your own business you can end up earning more and have a quicker progression. It’s easier when you are younger with no husband or wife or a mortgage. There is limited risk in your twenties but in your thirties many people may have children to care for and it’s more of a risk then.”

In 2006 Neil was one of a number of university students from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who gained a two month internship in Washington as part of the Washington Ireland Programme for Service and Leadership (WIP).

He pointed out: “There were high calibre students on the programme. The politics students gained an internship with certain senators while the business students gained business placements. I spent time at the World Bank in Washington which is just two blocks away from the White House. We got to meet several prominent people such as the President of the World Bank and many congressmen. It’s not everyday that an opportunity comes to work and learn via a structured programme somewhere like the World Bank.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email

[Note: Neil Flanigan will be awarded his degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 04 July]


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