As a 2011 alum of the iSchool, I want to take the opportunity to encourage current students to take advantage of one of the best events the iSchool has to offer.  I participated in the University Challenge 2010, the first time the iSchool had held the contest with the MLB; it was an unbelievable experience.

Our challenge was to mock up and redesign the Milwaukee Brewers team homepage and then present our changes and reasoning to actual employees of MLB Advanced Media in NYC. After learning about the details of the challenge, I was a little nervous I wouldn’t have the technical skills (like HTML and CSS) to compete, but it wasn’t a problem.  My team and I drew up a wireframe of our redesign and then used Photoshop to mock up what the homepage would actually look like.  The entire project was cool, because we were solving real problems in a fun and creative way that utilized technology. We then put together our presentation that we would present at the MLB Advanced Media offices in Chelsea Market.

After getting a tour of their office we were able to get a feel for their working environment and got to see all of the incredible technology they work with on a daily basis. All the teams were brought into a room where we pitched our ideas to MLB employees.  At first I was a little skeptical and wasn’t sure whether they would actually care about our ideas, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The questions they asked were challenging and insightful.  We really had to defend our reasoning for adding/removing certain features to the homepage. After the presentations, we had dinner with some of the employees and got to network with them.  They gave us feedback on our ideas and presentations, and it was amazing to see that the challenges we were working through were challenges they were actually facing. College Challenge 2010 participants presenting their ideas

Overall, it was one of the most unique experiences I had in college. Being able to tackle real world problems for a real company was awesome, and  I’m so happy I was able to be involved in the College Challenge. I encourage all of you considering this contest to form a team and participate!

Click here for more information on the College Challenge 2011. Registration is now open. The deadline is October 31.

Marc Squire is  a recent graduate of the iSchool.  He is now working as a Business Technology Analyst with Deloitte Consulting in the Web Channel Solutions Practice.