On February 9th, commerce and engineering students from the University of Victoria came together to use their combined business and technical skills to solve a case competition, themed around innovation in tech. The students worked in teams of 6, comprised of a minimum two of each discipline. The teams had 5 hours to work on a solution, afterwards each team presented their ideas to a panel of industry professionals (including us!). The top 3 teams were awarded prizes, including the bonus FreshWorks first place prize: A pizza party at our Victoria office.
FreshWorks CEO Sam Mod, and COO Rohit Boolchandani are Gustavson MBA alumni and have tried to support the university as much as possible since graduation.
For example, Sam has spoken to commerce undergraduate classes in the entrepreneurship specialization, sharing his successes and missteps on the journey to FreshWorks’ success and often returns. For both, supporting this event put on by the Commerce Student Society and the Engineering Student Society was a no brainer - an event that encouraged collaboration between business and technology was exactly what FreshWorks wanted to support in potential future candidates.
The idea for the case competition came from Google Venture’s Design Sprint, which is an intensive design-thinking workshop that guides teams from an initial concept to a user-validated prototype. The method focuses on “business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more— packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.” Taking place over 5 days, structured in different tasks for each day, this process “creates space for ideation, and validates the potential success or failure of new initiatives.”
The UVic students condensed the 5 day Google Venture process into 5 hours.
The Design Sprint case competition was organized entirely by the Business Technology Club, which is made up of Commerce Student Society members, as well as Engineering Student Society members. Not only did these students manage to host the first of hopefully a series of tech related case-competitions, but they wrote the case used in the competition themselves. Check out their great work here.
The results of the competition were impressive - the combined effort of the engineering and commerce students to solve this case was well-rounded and innovative. Teams created presentations with detailed strategies and proposals to save the company in the case, OMEGA cars, from bankruptcy. Some used innovation in the form of automobile technology, some in the production line, some in marketing and customer interaction. Prototypes of websites and car models were created, highlighting the skills of the students. The winning team presented a plan to the judges that scored highest on presentation, feasibility, innovation and strategy.
The After Party
On March 15th, the winning and organizing teams came to our office for pizza, a tour, and to meet some of the FreshWorks team. While at the office, we were able to hare a bit about what it’s like to work at FreshWorks in the different disciplines - emphasizing that tech isn’t only development! The Gustavson School of Business students learned about Business Analyst and Project Management roles, and more about getting into tech from a business background.
The event was well received by students, faculty, and industry members, and we at FreshWorks hope the event will happen again next year to provide both business and engineering students with experiential education in tech.