Students on their Oxford Strategy Challenge projects with Olga’s Fine Foods

The popular Careers Service original programme, the Oxford Strategy Challenge (TOSCA) is a team-based experiential learning event for Oxford University students, with participants taking part in real strategy-focused client challenges over a week.

On the programme, students got to work with Olga's Fine Foods, a South Australian family-owned food manufacturing business established over 40 years ago. Best known for their Beef Chevapchichi's, Olga's Fine Foods now produce a range of high-quality products available in retail outlets around Australia.

The company is run by Oxford University alumni Helen Ujvary (Masters in Chemical Engineering at Keble) and George Ujvary (DPhil in Physiology at Hertford College). 

This collaboration showcases the invaluable connections and support within the University ecosystem. It highlights the benefits of the practical application of our skills-development programmes and sheds a light on the importance of alumni engagement in nurturing new generations of innovators and professionals.

Here is what students took away from their project work with Olga's Fine Foods. 

Students' highlights

olgas fine food jar in front of hertford bridge

Photo by Grace Yueying Huang, Department of Economics, St Antony's College

We are delighted to have taken part in Olgas Fine Foods' journey towards embracing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles through their involvement in the Food SA Pilot Program. As part of the TOSCA program, run by the University of Oxford's Careers Service, our team put forth several key recommendations deemed critical for the initial year of Olgas Fine Foods' ESG venture. These recommendations, focusing on energy efficiency, sustainable packaging, and waste reduction, were identified as top priorities.

This has been an enriching learning experience for us, and we are profoundly thankful for the chance to collaborate with Olgas. We are hopeful that our contributions and insights will foster positive developments for Olgas Fine Foods in the days to come.

Wian Satyapertiwi, Natalia Atuesta, and Cory Lines

I signed up to take part in the TOSCA Challenge in November. This was a one week intense challenge where we were required to meet the client, plan our research, create a report and pitch to the client, all in the space of a week!

I was assigned to a team working with Olga's Fine Foods, an award-winning FMCG business operating in South Australia. Any concerns about the difficulties of our UK-Australia time difference disappeared immediately upon meeting Helen Ujvary, their Chief Strategy Officer. Her enthusiasm for Olga's shone through from our first meeting, and inspired us all to be as passionate as she is.

My team was assigned to orchestrate a 3-year plan for strategic implementation of AI into the business, with a specific focus on marketing and product design. This was a very new area for me, having never worked with AI before, and I really enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I was able to incorporate skills I had acquired from other areas of my academic and extracurricular life into this new context. Helen was also incredibly helpful, always on hand to give advice or advise on a new direction that our research should go down. As Team Lead, I also had the opportunity to develop my Team Management skills, coordinating between our international client and my team to ensure that we met our deadlines.

olgas fine food jar in front of the radcliffe camera

Photo by Grace Yueying Huang, Department of Economics, St Antony's College

Overall, a wonderful experience working with Olga's Fine Foods and TOSCA. I have gained so many new skills and I am pleased that I remain in contact with Helen, who is an inspiring leader in her field and someone that I can really learn from.

Frances Hand

A group of students from Oxford University worked on a project with Olga’s Fine Foods to aid them on their ESG journey and to produce a roadmap that will both set them apart from competitors and align them with potential partners. This was accelerated by the company’s involvement with How Sustainability’s pilot programme. We began by researching Olga’s efforts and the efforts made by competitors and others in the market, and understanding the ESG values of the supermarkets and stockists of Olga’s Fine Foods products and what informed them. We used this information to identify ESG priorities, devise some initiatives for Olga’s to consider, evaluate their potential impact and organise these into a 3-year plan.”

Romy Thomas 

How to take part in the Oxford Strategy Challenge

The Oxford Strategy Challenge aims to provide Oxford University students with real-world client experience and development opportunities across key employment skills that you can deploy on your CV, cover letters, and at interviews. 

Applications are open for the March - April 2024 Programme until 8 March.