Graduate Blog / Graduate Life

MCFE Team Leads Sallie Mae Design Thinking Hackathon

One class offered to students in the MBA programs at Babson is Managing the Consulting Experience. This class allows individuals to manage and lead a team of undergraduate students on a consulting project, gaining real-world project management experience. Read about an event initiative organized by Marc Antunes ’18, who is currently leading the team working for Sallie Mae:

Last week, together with a team of undergraduate students, I put on the first ever Design Thinking Hackathon for Sallie Mae, a prominent student loan company. The event is the result of a relationship established by Sallie Mae with Babson through the Management Consulting Field Experience Program (MCFE).  

The goal of the event was to generate new ideas for fintech solutions to revolutionize the ways in which students manage their finances. We hosted a successful event with nearly 40 participants from across academic programs, including a number of MBA students, Masters in Accounting, and undergraduates.

The event kicked off with opening remarks from Kristyn Harmon, VP of Digital Strategy and Design at Sallie Mae and Valeska O’Leary, Director of UX at Sallie Mae. Dr. Steven Gordon, professor of IT management at Babson College, was then invited to speak to attendees about applications in the industry leveraging blockchain technology.  Other speakers for the event included Samarth Virk, Innovation Incubator at Sallie Mae, who provided the closing remarks.

Participants, divided into teams of four, were asked to take part in a number of brainstorming and ideation exercises before pitching their final ideas to a panel of judges. The panel of judges consisted of myself, my team members, and executives from Sallie Mae. We are proud to say that the event was extremely competitive in terms of the quality of the ideas that were generated by a very talented student body.

Coming out of this event, we are confident that the contributions from the various teams will help to create a real impact on student financial life through Sallie Mae.

The winning team was awarded $400 in gift cards as well as certificates of achievement from Sallie Mae.

Marc Antunes is a second year student in the full time MBA program.  Before coming to Babson, Marc was an associate consultant in compliance, technology and investigations at Control Risks in São Paulo.

Click here to learn more about Babson’s student consulting opportunities.