PVAMU wins HBCU Battle of the Brains during SXSW
Prairie View A&M University students won 1st place in the HBCU Battle of the Brains Competition in Austin, Texas. The event was March 7 – March 10, 2019.
The South by Southwest (SXSW) event hosted featured speakers, Stacey Abrams (Georgia House of Rep.), Amber Baldet (Blockchain & Cryptocurrency, Co-founder & CEO of Clovyr), and Kimberly Bryant (Entrepreneurship & Startups, Founder & CEO of Black Girls CODE), who spoke on current global topics to spark constructive dialog.
PVAMU entered the annual competition at SXSW, organized by the Black MBA Association, which engages students to work on business cases presented 24 hours before the final presentation of the thought-provoking solution. PVAMU’s team of five included Business and Engineering students Dannick Boyogueno, (Marketing) Amber Diehl, (Accounting) Oluseun John, (Mechanical Engineering) Uchechukwu Uboh, (Computer Engineering) and Seif Hediya (Civil Engineering). They were challenged to analyze a National Football League (NFL) case study and present their findings against more than 20 HBCU’s from across the country.
As Diversity and Inclusion at the National Football League remain a top priority, the League is continuously looking for opportunities to bring qualified candidates in the pipeline with an emphasis on connecting hiring managers and minority candidates. The case focused on connecting minority coaches and hiring personnel including senior executives at NFL Clubs with the intent of increasing the number of minorities in the coaching pipeline.
The Challenge: The PVAMU team was tasked with providing a recommendation on how the NFL can connect hiring personnel at NFL Clubs and qualified minority coaching candidates through live event networking opportunities and the creation of a mobile application (app) that accesses the database of information on the coaching candidates. The tasks had to be completed within a 24-hr time frame with a fully developed solution.
- Outline of Proposed Solution
- Business & Marketing Plan
- Executive Summary
- Technology Solution (Mobile App, Web Interface)
- PowerPoint Presentation
- Two‑Minute “Pitch” Video
The team came up with a 2-step approach. First, the creation of a mobile-first application aptly named the NFL BlueChip; the app is a portal that connects potential coaching candidates directly to hiring managers and personnel in the NFL. Candidates could input their key accomplishments while remaining anonymous. It also integrated a “Case Simulation” which assessed the candidates’ decision-making process and ability to perform in real time NFL coaching positions.
The second solution involved using data from the NFL BlueChip application and outsourcing the analysis to hiring managers then select the most qualified candidates to attend a live event called the “NFL Coaching Combine.” This event will be scheduled two days before the NFL Scouting Combine thereby ensuring it fits perfectly with the NFL calendar. The “Coaches Combine” will allow prospective coaching candidates the opportunity to interact with hiring managers, front office personnel and current NFL coaches thereby expanding the exposure of qualified minority candidates to the NFL coaching pipeline.
The team pulled from diverse perspectives and experience and worked as one cohesive unit. Mr. Gregory Gibson, (Founder and Executive Director, Battle of the Brains Competition) have a phenomenal program. The event included company tours (Dell, Indeed.com, HomeAway) and networking for students. I am impressed with the opportunities this organization brings to the arena for students. I observed PVAMU students leaving this event invigorated and inspired. I am honored Dr. Baldwin, (Leader) gave me the opportunity to work with our students by engaging and empowering them to achieve success. I express gratitude for the assistance from Mr. Herbert Thomas and Mr. Clyde McNeil. “PVAMU Produces Productive People.”
By Audria Ford, Finance Instructor, College of Business