Imagine you were an intern and one morning you arrived at work to find the CEO has sent an email to the whole company asking them to congratulate you personally? This is what happened to Somak Ghosh, one of the Lean Mean Graphene Machine team, who won Shell Ideas360 in 2016.
After reading dozens of emails congratulating him on his win and accepting plenty of praise from his colleagues, Somak was left in no doubt that Shell Ideas360 should take pride of place on his resume. This was a smart choice, as he starts a permanent job with the same company in August and was told that one director had insisted: “This kid won an international case competition, we have to keep him on.”
Somak’s experience makes it clear that Shell Ideas360 can open doors, but how else can it help develop the skills you need for success?
The first thing competitors have to learn is how to apply textbook learning to come up with an idea that will work in the real world. This can range from creating a workable business plan, to overcoming the technical problems that arise when you apply theoretical models to something real.
“Shell Ideas360 is a great way to supplement your education by getting some actual hands on experience to develop an idea you’ve come up with,” explains Sean Ebihara, one of Somak’s teammates.
The next skill students pick up is working collaboratively with people with different skillsets. “Working on this project we didn’t all have the same background and talking about technical issues was sometimes difficult, but it taught me to work with people from all different backgrounds”, says Sean.
In the later stages of the competition students work with mentors who share their years of industry experience. They can teach the ‘soft skills’ that help you to present a complex and technical idea, like the Lean Mean Graphene Machine’s winning idea for a graphene coating process, in a clear and persuasive manner that works for a varied audience.
“The skills I learned in the competition are very relevant for my job. We have to sell projects to other companies and really show them how our data and technology is meaningful. What we did at Shell Ideas360 was very similar; we had an idea and had to convince a varied group of people why it was the best one for them”, explains Somak.
In a competitive jobs market, where every student needs to think about what gives them the edge, Somak and Sean’s experience illustrates how the skills you learn during Shell Ideas360 could help push your resume to the top of the pile.