An exceptional prize for our younger students at the RSE Hackathon

Four FIS Terminale students took part in the 4CSRtech Innovation Contest at HKUST, which was organised on 5 November by the company Orange and France-HKUST Innovation Hub. Here’s some feedback from our students on their experience of this rich and exceptional project, which required intense preparation.

What motivated you to take part in this challenge for experienced teams and university students?

Alexandre: “First of all, it was our natural sciences teacher, Martial Jaume, who told Amandine and me about this challenge. For me, it was the nature of the challenge that motivated me. I’m really interested in entrepreneurship, so an innovation challenge like that obviously motivated me. We didn’t know at that point that this event was intended for such experienced teams, or at least we hadn’t thought about that yet.”

Alix: When I decided to get involved in this project, I had no idea how much time it was going to take us, and I wasn’t sure I’d understood the stakes involved. It was the end of the summer holidays and I saw it more like a change to improve my team work at the start of final year. We understood the scale of the project very quickly, and it was then that I started feeling a bit overwhelmed, but at the same time I felt really motivated and ready to give it my all to make it progress.

Amandine: The experience. The more new and different things that we live, the more we grow. Although the project originally seemed to go beyond our limits - I admit that I had some doubts about getting it done - the simple fact of taking part in itself gave us the chance to improve ourselves.

What did you think about the event?

Alexandre: “At the beginning, it was hard to see all of these teams made up of university students or members of start-ups from around the world. We were the youngest team by far. It was really daunting. However, we were amazed to find that the teams, mentors and juries were both surprised and delighted by our participation. They gave us advice, told us anecdotes and showed us how satisfying they found it to see young people getting involved in this challenge against adults. The hackathon was a really enriching and inspiring, especially with Ravindran Thanikaimoni who helped us a lot to insert the same image of the concept we were working on into the entire team, then to define the concept with the correct terminology and then explain the concept to the jury as quickly and as well as possible, and finally to establish a coherent process in order to demonstrate the concept's viability. Finally, the presentation was the most stressful part, but it was a relief to get it done after a month of preparation and a full week-end of the competition. Even if the prize at the end was also a good surprise, what I was happiest with was our journey to make it to the end of the competition.”

Alix: (Alexandre has already summed everything up but I’d like to add my viewpoint too): I wasn’t there on the Saturday. On Sunday, I felt really intimidated seeing the other teams, as I understood that some of them had prepared everything much earlier than us. But we were really well supported, especially by Ravi and the presentation went really well. The prize was completely unexpected, but at the same time we also felt we were rewarded for all of our hard work.

Did taking part in this type of event motivate you to continue in this domain?

Amandine: Yes, this type of experience is really motivating and reinforces and builds your self-confidence. It allowed us to realise what we can do simply by just setting our minds to it. We feel less intimidated by this type of professional project. It’s definitely been a remarkable experience for my personal growth.

Alix: it was a really enriching experience which taught me a lot about the business domain and the skills you need for it. However, I don’t know yet if I would want to continue in this domain.

Julien, speaking for all: What motivated me to do this project at first was mainly curiosity. I had already gotten into a project last year with the same team and the same aim to venture into new experiences. This experience also allowed me to get a taste for new experiences, which are more liberal and less academic. I had more fun, getting together in a room to reflect for hours on end, in total liberty and being able to reason without restrictions is an incomparable feeling that you can't find anywhere else. Discussing with others to discover and meet new people opened my mind up to a lot of domains. Now, I am 100% sure that as soon as a new Hackathon opportunity comes up, I will be there with the biggest smile on my face.