As a function of ICS 601: Problems in Information and Communication Sciences, students were required to compete in what is known as the Accenture Challenge. Each year a team of CICS alumni from Accenture, one of the world’s leading consulting firms, return to campus to host a competition in which the alumni pose as a mock company and issue a realistic Request for Proposal (RFP). Teams must then present their ideas to a panel of judges who determine the four best solutions. The four teams with the best solutions then present again to a larger panel; the winning team is selected from these finalists and receive a total of $1500 to be split among the team.
The RFP for this year’s challenge was very interesting and fun to work with. The mock company created was called Royal Sea Cruises, a luxury cruise line wishing to better service millennials. Each team was tasked to determine a solution that would provide greater bandwidth on-board the vessels, as well as design a mobile application for use on-board the ships. This challenge went far beyond the somewhat typical mandate to develop a network solution, etc.; creativity was stressed along with providing a “wow factor” during the presentation.
The solution my team and I developed was using EMC’s Speednet, a cloud based satellite solution to provide greater bandwidth and Internet speeds. Coupled with this was our designed mobile application. My appreciation is extended towards Jason Liu who designed the fantastic interface of the application. We also suggested Royal Sea implement an RFID wrist band solution to provide a more convenient user experience, much a kin to the system implemented at Disney Theme Parks.
Despite our best efforts, my team was not selected as a finalist. Our major flaw in our proposal was the lack of detail paid towards the various costs of the proposed solution; one figure at first glance was seemingly outrageous due to the lack of explanation behind the certain drivers of the cost. Ultimately, the Accenture Challenge was an extremely worthwhile endeavor. All teams learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to survive in the consulting world and the process behind responding to RFPs. Thank you to Accenture for providing this experience to CICS students each year.