College can be full of theoretical solutions to problems that only real-life experience can solve. That’s why the University of Maryland’s Honors Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program branched out and challenged four teams of freshman and sophomore students with finding solutions to improve the services of Corcentric, a McLean, Va.–based cloud-based provider of financial process automation solutions.
“Sometimes what stifles innovation and creativity is people within a workplace dynamic who say, ‘I have this really great idea, but I don’t want to show up my boss,'” Corcentric COO Matt Clark told Technical.ly DC. “These kids are not jaded by preconceived notions or thoughts.”
The four teams of undergrads (with three to four students on each team) were given two months in September and October to come up with business solutions and present them to Corcentric’s executive and creative team. The teams took home almost $2,000 in prize money – $1,000 for the winning team, $500 for second place, $250 for third place and $200 for fourth place. Team members also have an opportunity to intern with Corcentric.
“It was an amazing opportunity to work on Corcentric’s products and learn more about the many impacts of big data now and in our future,” said EIP student Simin Li in a statement.
- First place: PROCOR, a proposed intelligent procurement system that uses Corcentric’s historical procurement data to reduce inefficiencies between buyers and sellers and minimize cost and lead times. The team members were sophomores Rohan Dixit (a computer science major), Matt Fan (mechanical engineering), Chris Wolfe (mechanical engineering) and Chayce Wong (business).
- Second place: For using Blockchain tech – treating transactions as blocks, which can be broadcast to every party in a given network, each of which offers validation. The blocks are chained to create a transparent record of transactions. The team members were sophomores Abdul Ali (finance), Ankit Sheth (finance), Nathan Wagener (mechanical engineering) and Fiona Whitefield (public health science).
- Third place: Transaction analysis concept Cordata, which was led by sophomore Richard Kong (computer engineering), and freshmen Michelle Hu [finance] and Simin Li [engineering].
- Fourth place: Startup Centric, a proposed system of Corcentric support for startups, which was led by freshmen Neil Duggal (business), Ryan Pindale (physics), Alex Leipold (business) and Matt Frohman (computer engineering).
Jay Smith, the director of EIP at the University of Maryland, wants to make the competition a regular part of the student curriculum.
“It’s a wonderful experience for these students,” Smith told Technical.ly DC. “They haven’t haven’t been conditioned to know what what they can’t do… The winning team has a computer science major, two mechanical engineering majors and a business major. Getting them to work together – that’s really how the world works.”
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