News story 8th Sep 2015

Monash students envisage 'classroom of tomorrow' to win Microsoft Protégé 2015

Four Monash Business School students teamed up with a student from the Faculty of Arts to take out the Microsoft Protégé 2015 competition.

Team SWCJY at Microsoft

Bachelor of Commerce (Finance)/Bachelor of Laws students Winnie Vuong, Callum Lam, Yannis Goutzamanis, Bachelor of Commerce (Economics)/Bachelor of Laws student Josie Liu, and Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws student Sabrina Phung formed the unaffiliated 'Team SWCJY'.

As part of the Microsoft Protégé challenge, Team SWCJY (along with 200 other teams from across Australia) had to submit a report, indicating how they will drive more downloads of Office 365 in the educational sector within a set budget and timeline.

They came up with an idea called 'pay it forward 365' and 'classroom of tomorrow' to drive 1 million downloads of Office365 in the educational sector within 3 months and to sustain usage afterwards.

"Not having a marketing background made it difficult for us. We had to work extra hard to convince Microsoft at every stage that what we were proposing was doable, and that meant conducting some real in-depth research," said Winnie Vuong.

They successfully joined the last 16 to participate in the semi-finals, held at Microsoft state offices across the country. Upon a successful semi-final, the team received a full-expenses paid trip to Sydney as well as one-on-one mentoring sessions with Microsoft staff. This included assistance in developing their marketing strategy and presentation skills. As part of the two-day Grand Final experience, the four finalists were given skills workshops, networking sessions and an office tour.

The final pitch took place in front of Microsoft Australia's executive team, including Managing Director Pip Marlow, as well as over 100 staff.

Our strategy was perhaps not the most innovative, but it was creative, practical and feasible. The judges recognised it could be taken to market immediately and that's what ultimately got us across the line.

Callum Lam

"We knew physical advertising would not be possible, therefore we focussed on social media. With that, we really had to understand digital marketing trends, how advertising on the web works, and the metrics pertaining to it," added Yannis Goutzamanis.

The team, who entered the competition as a hobby, edged out three other teams from Australia's leading universities to take out the grand prize: a month of work experience with Microsoft, in addition to a range of other prizes.

"I believe my biggest takeaway from the competition was a deeper understanding of Microsoft. I was surprised at how energetic and innovative people are at Microsoft, as Microsoft is traditionally perceived as an old-school tech company. Also, I now know that my career and passion is not limited by my chosen degree," Callum concluded.

The Microsoft Protégé challenge is an annual marketing case competition held by Microsoft Australia. It is an opportunity for all undergraduate students who are passionate for business and marketing to showcase their skills and creativity. It also acts as a benchmark to recruit interns and seek out talented individuals regardless of their academic background. This year, over 200 teams from across Australia entered the competition.