Pitch wins prizes

This is an article by Natalie Smith.
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Final year students from Leeds Metropolitan University are celebrating after winning the coveted Grayling Competitive Pitch Prize.

All of the final year BA (Hons) Public Relations students were provided with a PR brief by Grayling. The students formed their own virtual agencies and presented their ideas to a panel of lecturers. The top four groups were then called to pitch in front of public relations experts at the company’s offices in Roundhay, Leeds.

Giraffe PR: Lauren Sedgley, Naomi Farmer, Natalie Smith, Sarah Blackwell, Claire Thomas and Christine Quigley with Grayling's Justin McKeown (centre)

Giraffe PR were announced as this year’s winners following a pitch in front of Grayling’s Justin McKeown and Vicky Murphy (themselves both PR graduates from the same university).

Final year student Sarah Blackwell commented on her team’s win:

“We are all absolutely thrilled – it’s been a great achievement for us all and a real team effort. This competition has provided us with the skills and confidence necessary to tackle any future pitches. Working with such an esteemed agency and on an exciting brief has also been a fantastic opportunity.”

Grayling’s divisional director, Justin McKeown, a Leeds Met graduate, acted as a mentor throughout the pitch process offering support and advice. Justin said:

“Year-on-year we see fresh and innovative ideas from the Leeds Metropolitan’s PR degree students. The course combines theory and practice, which gives its graduates a great understanding of the profession. The PR industry needs more qualified practitioners who can survive in a commercial environment, and this competition helps prepare the students for the workplace in some important ways.

“This year, the gap between first and second place was mightily close, and we congratulate the thoroughly-deserving winners. As these talented students are soon to be graduates,  I hope this experience will help launch they careers.”

Leeds Met Course Leader and Senior Lecturer, Lucy Laville added:

“Links with professionals is a core feature of our PR courses at Leeds Met. Grayling has supported the BA PR since its inception 20 years ago with a range of initiatives including the competitive pitch, guest lectures and placements for which we’re very grateful. With 20 years of alumni now working in the PR profession our links with employers have gone from strength to strength and our graduate employability remains exceptionally strong even in today’s economic climate.”

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