York Students reach the L’Oreal Brandstorm Finals

News | Posted on Thursday 30 April 2015

A team of 3 York students, Yiran Hou (BSc Management ), Yuting Juno Zhu (BSc Accounting, Business Finance and Management) & Jane Fieldsend (BA History) made it all the way to the UK finals in the prestigious L’Oreal Brandstorm competition, held at L’Oreal’s head office in London on 23rd April.

Team Peony
Team Peony

Yiran (BSc Management), Juno (BSc Accounting, Business Finance and Management) & Jane (BA History), who named their team Peony 21, presented an impressive proposal for a new retail experience in the travel retail arena for L’Oreal’s Lancome brand to attract new customers, to a panel of 3 L’Oreal experts in the morning Semi-Finals. Out of the 8 teams that competed in the semi-finals Peony21 were selected with 1 other team to compete in the Finals later that evening. Peony21 finished a very close runner up.

L’Oreal’s Brandstorm student competition requires high levels of creativity and innovation, with students addressing real life challenges in relation to one of L’Oreal’s international brands and distribution channels. A well established worldwide competition, Brandstorm has attracted around 70,000 students worldwide since it started in 1992.

Peony 21 had a fantastic experience, spending time at L’Oreal’s head office, meeting L’Oreal senior managers and networking with L’Oreal employees, fine tuning their presentation before presenting their proposal in the final to a senior L’Oreal judging panel made up of Michel Brousset (Managing Director UK&I), Antny Rankin (General Manager, Luxury Alternative Brands, UK&I), Catrin Roberts (Recruitment Director, UK&I) and Mike McKenna (Creative Director, TAG Agency).

Juno Zhu said, “This competition was such a great challenge and I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in the business world to join next year. We had great opportunities to build our networks with professionals in the L’Oreal Group including their Recruitment Managers from different departments, and also the excellent teams from other universities.”

Jane Fieldsend said "Being a history student with an interest in pursuing a career in Marketing, Brandstorm was a fantastic and eye-opening opportunity for me. It opened me up to the world of marketing, and the amazing opportunities that come with it. Although it was stressful at times, it was one of the best experiences of my life. The buzz I got from pitching my ideas in front of leading L'Oreal executives was indescribable. And it was amazing to let my creativity run wild, and actually be rewarded for it."

Yiran Hou added, “Brandstorm provided us with a great chance to prove our abilities in so many areas, such as utilising our learning from our studies in the Management School and putting them into a practical, innovative solution; managing pressure both from academic work and the competition; and conducting pressurised research based on limited information and tight time constraints. More importantly, all of us boosted in confidence and in ambitions for our future careers.

We very much appreciated for the support from the University of York, especially the York Management School. The rehearsal we had in the Management School, the encouragement from Management School staff and discussions about the competition with our lecturer, Dr Fernando Fastoso, all contributed to our team successfully getting all the way to the UK final. “

The Dean and School Manager of The York Management School were very eager to support this competition and agreed a package of support to allow the students the best possible chance of success.  Students were given access to specialised senior marketing academics in the School, as well as having the personal support of our Placement Co-ordinator, Nicola Clemmit, who accompanied the students to the event in London.  To complete the range of support, the School employed a professional trainer to help the students to maximise their presentation skills.  Several staff from the School attended a practice presentation and gave the students some useful feedback.  It was a real team effort from the School which has helped the students to achieve this high accolade.

Nicola Clemmit, Placement Coordinator for the York Management School said, “L’Oreal Brandstorm is a unique, challenging and massively rewarding competition for our students to participate in. It has been a great experience to watch our students excel and to support them to develop and challenge themselves along this journey. The initiative, creative flair and business agility they have demonstrated and developed throughout the preparation stage, as well as in the finals themselves, has been a pleasure to witness. We are very proud of what our students have achieved, particularly as this is the first year the University of York has collaborated with L’Oreal in this competition.  We have learnt a lot from the process and I can’t wait to develop the support the School will offer students again next year!”

Hannah Neal, Graduate Programme Coordinator for L’Oréal said, “All of the students presented exceptionally well throughout both semi-finals and finals. Just to put it into perspective, over 70 teams registered for the game, over 55 case studies were submitted and out of those, 8 semi-finalists were chosen. But this wasn’t enough for York, they went onto gain a finalist place and we were thrilled as it was the first year they had taken part! Huge well done to Team Peony 21 – you were fantastic! We can’t wait for what’s in store with York next year!”

Team Peony Brandstorm finalists

The York Management School are working with L’Oreal to integrate Brandstorm into modules in the coming years to provide a practical and impactful opportunity for our students with one of the world’s most innovative and creative companies.

Dr Fernando Fastoso, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at The York Management School, said, “the L'Oreal Brandstorm competition attracted great interest among our students this year. We were very happy to have 9 teams entering the competition and we are now very proud of the 1 team that made it to the finals. I personally really enjoyed acting as a sounding board for the team throughout the process. From the way in which they presented and justified their ideas the team members struck me from the start as very intelligent and articulate individuals with a natural talent for marketing. They should be proud of their achievement and so are we. As a consequence of their success we have decided to incorporate the L'Oreal Brandstorm competition into the curriculum of our MSc Global Marketing programme next year. In addition, we will continue to support also undergraduate students wishing to take part in the competition next year through academic input as well as presentational skills."


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Peony21 finished a very close runner up.

Contact us

York Management School
+44 (0)1904 325032

Contact us

York Management School
+44 (0)1904 325032