Business Dalyell students solve wicked problems in Salesforce challenge

11 March 2021
High-achieving Business School students partner with industry
Students who innovated in the recent Business Dalyell Wicked Forum were "absolutely outstanding," with the winners and runners-up pitching their solutions to the Salesforce executive team.

Business Dalyell students have demonstrated advanced skills in innovation and problem solving in the recent Business Dalyell Wicked Forum.

The Business School partnered with Salesforce to pose a complex problem to students enrolled in intensive Business Dalyell units of study. The online challenge asked teams of students to design pathways for Salesforce to increase the participation and engagement of students in their technical training programs.

The winners of the competition and two runners-up teams were described as "absolutely outstanding" and have since pitched their solutions to members the Salesforce executive team.

"It was wonderful to see that all students had taken that extra step, and some, that extra mile," said Eloise Lloyd, Talent Programs APAC at Salesforce.

The students who participated in this program showed a strong understanding of the complex problem they were presented with. Many of them demonstrated a level of problem-solving skills that was beyond expectation.
Eloise Lloyd, Talent Programs APAC at Salesforce

The Salesforce Samurais presenting their Career Map solution

The winning team of the Business Dalyell Wicked Forum was the Salesforce Samurais, comprised of Bachelor of Science student Mina Celik-Alvis, Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications)/Bachelor of Advanced Studies student Phoebe Reede and Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws student Michelle Zhu, with their Salesforce Career Map solution.

Participating in real-life projects as a student is an important career step, Eloise believes.

"Industry programs allow students to work on highly topical and immediate projects. It's a challenge to be thrown into the deep end, but the outcome is that you've felt the excitement of what a career in that industry may be like," she said.

"Salesforce is eager to work with the University because we can see the commitment to education, industry engagement, and helping students become job-ready."

Salesforce has been named the Business Dalyell Most Valuable Partner for 2020 by Dean of the Business School, Professor Greg Whitwell.

Explore the student solutions

Cloud Lite was developed by Team Evolution: Jeffrey Brown, Samantha Karzon, Gary Lou and Liam Mills.

The problem

Cloud computing is a fast-evolving technological space. As with any new technological domain, the rules of the game are still developing. How can this technology landscape be developed such that security risks are minimised?

What was your solution?

Cloud Lite is essentially Salesforce providing a more standardised and less customisable SME CRM as opposed to their current offering. As a team we believed that this was the best possible solution that would benefit all the stakeholders involved whilst still solving the problem at hand.

Our solution was as simple as taking an existing product/service and changing it in a way that would increase its effectiveness and success. 

What did it mean to be able to get feedback from a leading organisation like Salesforce?

Fortunate is an understatement. It’s motivating to know that a highly reputable and successful organisation such as Salesforce is genuinely interested in the ideas and perspectives of the next generation of business leaders.

To get real-world feedback is invaluable to say the least and to hear that our solution would be "revolutionary" from a team of executive senior managers outweighs any university achievement thus far.

I can't thank Salesforce enough for not only listening to our pitches but dedicating their time and efforts into commenting on the output of our work. This just goes to show that hard work never goes unnoticed and with a company like Salesforce you will surely be commended on this. 

What was the most valuable part of the experience?

Yes, meeting with Salesforce's executive senior management team was one of the highlights of the experience but for me the standout or the most valuable part was the process of getting to this stage. It all came down to collaborative, supportive, and creative teamwork.

This taught me that what you put in is what you get out, in saying this  I want to give a huge shout out to my team members; Jeffery Brown, Gary Lou and Liam Mills who were one of the greatest groups I have worked with to date and this was reflected  in our solution.

So to me, practicing effective teamwork that led to positive outcomes such as our ongoing conversation with Salesforce highlighted that as long as you try your best as a team and work together cohesively you will always achieve more than expected, after all there is strength in numbers.  

Team Evolution pitching Cloud Lite

Salesforce & Chill and Salesforce Career Quiz were proposed by the Fake Americans: Serena Gao, Peter Luo and Therese Quiogue.

The problem

How can Salesforce work with existing educational institutions to create a pathway for students to train and get certification in salesforce technologies?

What was your solution?

As students ourselves, we knew the struggles of putting yourself out there and engaging with professionals to learn more about industry work and your career path. For companies like Salesforce, getting their name and brand out there into the student body is their primary challenge. 

We tackled both of these with our solutions:

  1. Salesforce & Chill: Reimagining traditional networking events -- instead of suits and canapes, you get together with industry people and play Jackbox party games, which gives you insights into the people and culture at Salesforce beyond just the professional work they do. 
  2. Salesforce Careers Quiz: an interactive quiz that gives you your ideal Salesforce career based on your personality and existing skill level, granting clarity in an otherwise very ambiguous space for most students
What did it mean to be able to get feedback from a leading organisation like Salesforce?

One of the key differences I find between academia and industry is that academia is often about generating new ideas and pushing the boundaries of existing knowledge in the field, whereas industry is heavily constrained by budget, time, and investment. Sitting down to pitch our ideas to the senior Salesforce staff gave us insights into the day to day concerns, considerations, and risk mitigations that industry professionals have to consider. 

It perfectly encapsulates the distinction between invention and innovation that we discussed in BUDL2902: Innovation is invention with viability. Getting thrown the tough questions on market sizing, investment costs, and risks by the Salesforce team was a little challenging and scary, but ultimately both of you have the same goal: to see a fantastic innovation come to life and create value for everyone.

What was the most valuable part of the experience?

In the Business School, we do case studies and mini-projects for industry partners all the time, and it’s always an enriching experience doing the research, working with other people, and coming up with solutions and innovations that you genuinely believe will work.

But to take that the next step and have the chance to actualise your solutions - that's hard to come by and it’s very empowering. I can’t wait to click on the Salesforce Trailhead website and take the Careers Quiz for myself without any photoshopped storyboards and HTML manipulation. 

Above all else, you're getting your name out there and proving that you have the skills and capacity to lead, grow, and develop as an industry professional who can drive real business value. 

The Fake Americans pitching Salesforce & Chill and Salesforce Career Quiz

Salesforce Career Map was proposed by the Salesforce Samurais: Mina Celik-Alvis, Phoebe Reede and Michelle Zhu.

The problem

How can Salesforce work with existing educational institutions to create a pathway for students to train and get certification in salesforce technologies?

What was your solution?

Our solution involved an innovative pathway to encourage high school students and high school institutions into collaborating with Salesforce.

Within this pathway, we introduced a tiered program, where students of years 9, 10 and 11 (at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels respectively) have opportunities to attend Salesforce-guided workshops on the importance of privacy and other technology related skills, participate in mentoring with a Salesforce industry professional and ultimately participate in training and certification for Salesforce technologies.

The purpose of our solution was to promote better technology literacy amongst younger audiences and expose them to potential career opportunities in technology (such as with Salesforce) at a time when they are trying to discover their interests. 

What did it mean to be able to get feedback from a leading organisation like Salesforce?

It was incredibly insightful to get feedback from an industry professional like Salesforce, as they gave us a lot of direction and scope as to how we can refine our idea. It was also very affirming to hear that an industry partner such as them, were drawn to our idea. Not only did they provide us with advice, but their questions in the Q&A session allowed us to critically assess the reasons why there could be risks in our problem, and really delve deeper into the problem at hand.

We were very fortunate to have Salesforce comment on our pitch and their feedback was invaluable as their collective experience really helped us identify what areas needed refining, and what areas were appealing to a client. 

What was the most valuable part of the experience?

I think the most valuable part of the experience was being able to design and present a pitch to a panel of industry professionals as an interdisciplinary team.

I had the opportunity to work with two other students who study completely different fields to me. Drawing upon our combined backgrounds of Business, Law, Arts, Media, and Science, we were able to critique, refine and develop our proposal into something that we were collectively proud of.

Whilst none of us have specific experience tackling issues within the technology industry, I am grateful for the opportunity as it allowed us to take on a new challenge and not only refine our teamwork skills but also learn practical pitching and critical thinking skills when addressing Salesforce's questions.

The Salesforce Samurais pitching Salesforce Career Map

Business Dalyell success stories