Henley Challenge: Why apply and how to succeed – by previous winner Dina Ghanma

Dina Ghana presenting at the Henley Challenge 2015

Third-year ICMA Centre student and previous Henley Challenge winner Dina Ghanma gives advice to prospective applicants on how to succeed in this year’s competition.

It’s that time of year again, and no, I’m not referring to Christmas; it’s the Henley Challenge season! This time last year, I was contemplating whether enrolling in this competition would be a smart investment of my time and effort. Looking back now, I’m so glad I made the right choice of signing up. As I continually say to anyone willing to listen, the Henley Challenge has been one of my best experiences since starting university.

“you… present your findings in a professionally recorded presentation which becomes solid documentation of your hard work and achievement”

As a multi-stage challenge, there is something to learn at each step. Just by putting together a written/video proposal, you would be pocketing some enlightening information about the topic and creating a piece of work to reflect that. If you make it to the finals, not only would you acquire more valuable knowledge, but you would also have an opportunity to present your findings in a professionally recorded presentation which becomes solid documentation of your hard work and achievement. At that point, winning is just a bonus!

My favourite aspect of the Challenge is its customisability. Last year, each of the finalists brought forth a completely different perspective on the same issue of “short-termism”. This year’s expansive topic, “Shape the future of business! What impact will your sector or field make in the next 70 years?” magnifies that speciality further. I look forward to being on the other side of the competition this time to see how the beaming minds of the Henley Business School can fashion an interesting, insightful answer to this intriguing question.

“…a gift that keeps on giving.”

To prospective contestants, my advice is to be true to yourself and your field. Passion would not only make the preparation more enjoyable for you, but also the result more outstanding for us. Moreover, making your proposal and presentation easy to understand is key! Regressions, formulas and coding are cool (in my opinion, at least), but your presentation needs to send a message which your audience can easily receive and remember. Finally, make sure you have support! It’s always helpful seeing a friendly face in the crowd.

Dina Ghanma judges Henley Challenge
Judging pannel at the Henley Challenge 2015

To wrap up, every now and then, I receive an unexpected comment from a businessperson, professor or even a random LinkedIn user, saying that they have come across my presentation and thought it was well done! So, in line with the Christmas spirit, I would describe the Henley Challenge as a gift that keeps on giving. Second year final exams, a summer internship, and my last university autumn term later, this Challenge remains a prominent part of my life!


At the Henley Business School, our focus is: INNOVATION, IMPACT, ENGAGEMENT. The Henley Challenge, naturally, is a great medium of achieving all three of these essential values! So, in the words of Shia LaBeouf, “Just do it!”.

Leave a Reply