U.S. Bank Sponsored ‘Hackathon’ Competition
College student teams will compete Thursday and Friday, April 7-8 in a U.S. Bank-sponsored Hackathon, where they’ll work to design the most compelling and innovative application to help college students be successful in managing their money.
“Students will be given a mock problem and will be charged with developing a solution for it. They’ll gain experience in working as a team with specially designed application programming interfaces (APIs) and additional tools needed to build their app,” explained Stephanie Hammes-Betti, U.S. Bank senior vice president and president of the Minneapolis College Foundation. “They also will have to pitch the value of their solution to the hackathon judges, providing them additional experience in creating a presentation, making a pitch and getting feedback on the concept in general.”
According to Brian Huilman, Minneapolis College School of Information Technology department chair and faculty, “What is most important during this competition is that our students are learning how to apply their IT skills and participate in a viable business situation. Rather than viewing this as students just competing in a contest, what we’re doing is giving students a real-world experience, just like they would see in a job.”
More than 50 students will participate, breaking into 10 teams of up to five students each. During their first day of competition, they’ll brainstorm how they want to design their application and create their own workflow and user experience. Students will use APIs provided by U.S. Bank that will allow them to request simulated data on mock bank accounts, transactions, and balances. They will also start writing the software to make their idea a reality.
On the second day, students will finish coding and develop a “pitch” to present their idea and application to a panel of judges who will select the top three teams. When the event debuted in 2019, the winning entry even introduced digital graphics and marketing concepts.
“Students came up with some amazing ideas and we were so impressed with the apps they built from scratch,” said Hammes-Betti. “We love introducing students to this type of innovative work and opportunities that exist at U.S. Bank. Most students assume we’re only a ‘bank and teller’ system and these types of events change that perspective and show them know we actually have a lot of technology at the bank, and we need their skills and talents.”
Students will either be on site in Minneapolis College IT classrooms or participating virtually via Microsoft Teams. Some teams will have a mixture of teammates in the classroom and connecting virtually.
In addition to its sponsorship of the event, U.S. Bank provides scholarships for Minneapolis College students.
“We do this as part of our relationship with Minneapolis College,” Hammes-Betti said. “U.S. Bank is a proud sponsor of IT scholarships, which we believe helps enable and support emerging technical talent in our community.”