What is a hackathon?

Companies and schools sponsor hackathons and invite teams of students to solve real-world business cases. These problems include evaluating new opportunities and resolving management dilemmas with time-critical deadlines. Hackathons provide a comprehensive learning opportunity for students to combine and apply their skills in a near real life scenario.  Using all this information, the teams formulate their recommended action plans, which are presented to a judging panel. This panel is often seen as the executive board or perhaps an important client they are trying to consult for.

Why should students take part in a hackathon?

Classes at universities are nearly always specific to a discipline - marketing, accounting, strategy, information systems. but we know that the real world is cross-disciplinary. Hackathons are the best way to combine knowledge from multiple classes. For participants, these contests are a great way to apply what they have learned in multiple settings. The skills below highlight only some of the important take-aways from participating in a hackathon.

  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Conflict Management
  • Leadership
  • Drive and motivation
  • Presentation skills

What can students achieve from taking part in hackathons?

The winning team may walk away with a scholarship prize, but taking part is not just about winning prizes and gaining prestige. The goal is to take the skills you have learned and demonstrate them in other settings to make yourself more marketable when it comes to seeking employment opportunities. Below are resources to assist in translating skills learned from a case competition into your LinkedIn profile or in an interview setting.