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HSE Students Attend International Business Hackathon in Cologne

HSE students recently attended Creation Lab, an international business hackathon, where they presented their projects for the international partner companies. The hackathon was organized as part of the World Business Dialogue forum.

World Business Dialogue is an intercultural dialogue platform bringing together 300 students from 70 countries (selected from 2000 applicants) and 250 representatives of various companies. Over five days, the students participate in a three-day business hackathon, attend lectures by top executives on corporate culture and digitalization, and network with experts in the fields of innovation and technology.

This year’s Creation Lab was dedicated to ‘decrypting the DNA of the digital organization’ and attracted six partner companies. Each company selected three teams consisting of students from various universities around the world. The three teams in each group competed against each other and the best business solutions presented at the hackathon will be implemented by the companies.

The HSE students who were members of the winning teams spoke about their projects and shared their impressions of the forum.


Olga Leshchenko, 4th year undergraduate student of Sociology at HSE

I was a member of a team whose task was to prepare a project for Zurich Insurance Group (a Swiss insurance company and one of Europe’s largest, with clients in over 170 countries). Our task was to prepare a business solution with a focus on the client’s digital ecosystem. My term paper at HSE analyzed the consumer behavior of people who have optional private medical insurance, so it was particularly interesting for me to continue work on the theme of insurance at the forum. Working together with students from numerous countries, our team created a product called ‘Young Traveler European Insurance’, targeted at young individuals coming to study or work in Europe temporarily. Our ecosystem consisted of Zurich Insurance Group, the clients, and HeySuccess, a platform for internships. The project opens up new ways of looking at insurance, taking into account modern technology where information plays a major role.

Olga Dremova, 1st year master’s student of 'Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation' at HSE

I was selected to take part in a team for Evonik, a German company and world leader in the design and production of chemical products. We were given the ambitious task of inventing a concept to improve security trainings for interns at production sites with the use of AR/VR technology. Usually, the interns are given a huge manual with security rules, which they have to read and sign. In reality, no one reads the whole document, and it’s hard to assess its effectiveness. I didn’t have any problems with the teamwork because at HSE, I regularly work with classmates from different countries and we often implement tasks in mixed teams. My ability to think ‘out of the box’ was also very useful. Our team presented a concept of gamification and even demonstrated a prototype AR/VR app. The judges appreciated our unconventional approach, and we were the winners in our group of three. My participation in the forum gave me the opportunity to work in an international environment, to apply the knowledge I have acquired at HSE, and to meet peers from various countries.

Daria Rezyapova, 4th year undergraduate student of Sociology at HSE

I also worked on a project for Evonik. Our team included participants from Germany, India, and Italy with various backgrounds, including engineering, mathematics, and management. My background in sociology was a valuable addition and I was able to exploit the skills I have acquired at HSE: teamwork, critical thinking, and most importantly, the ability to meet deadlines. After three days of hard work, we presented our project to the digital technology director and were awarded first place among the three competing teams.

Valeria Zhizhikova, 1st year master’s student of ‘Business Strategies: Management and Consulting’ at HSE

I took part in a project for OSCAR Young Management Consultants, a big European consulting company, which provides professional experience in consulting for recent university graduates in Germany. Our task involved digitalizing OSCAR to make it more up-to-date and flexible in a changing context. I had to use not only my knowledge of IT, but my general understanding of business processes, as well as apply the principles of innovation management. World Business Dialogue was my first international forum, and I’m keen to continue to attend such events.

Maria Kachalova, graduate of the HSE bachelor’s programme in Business Informatics

Together with students from Germany, Italy, Nigeria, and Denmark, we solved a task set by Innogy, a supplier of green energy in Germany. Over the three days, we developed a prototype Telegram bot, a concept of an app, and prepared a presentation. I made good use of my knowledge of modeling, programing, business process analysis and design thinking – all skills that I acquired at HSE. As a result, our team won in our group of three. We received prizes (participant certificates) and the company representatives left with a solution, which they will implement as part of their electricity bill payment process in Germany.

Evgeny Linev, 4th year undergraduate student of Economics at HSE

I also worked on the Innogy case. My teammates included students in the fields of economics, geology, programing, and international relations. Such diverse backgrounds enabled us to look at the task from various perspectives and to evaluate all the possible pathways to a solution. HSE teaches a lot of courses that involve teamwork, including with international students. That’s why I didn’t have any problem with communication- we were consistently able to come to a compromise and find an optimal solution. From my peers, I learned to look at the problem from a broader perspective beyond my specialization. Innogy staff members were very helpful in the project work: they provided timely feedback and suggested the right direction to go in. World Business Dialogue is a unique event where each student feels part of an international team.

Elena Beilina, 1st year master’s student of ‘Applied Statistics with Network Analysis' at HSE, World Business Dialogue ambassador in Russia

I participated in an exchange programme at the University of Cologne in 2016, and was keen to visit again, as the city is student-friendly, innovative, and extremely attractive. Last year, I returned to Cologne as a forum participant and subsequently became an ambassador of World Business Dialogue in Russia. I’d like more HSE students to learn about the forum and become familiar with this community of talented and motivated people from all over the globe. It’s a wonderful opportunity to establish business contacts, find an internship at a big international company, or even get a job offer.

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