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Master of Commerce team wins prestigious Deloitte Fastrack Innovation Challenge

12 Jun 2014

A Business School team has won the prestigious Deloitte Fastrack Innovation Challenge, an annual competition which tests the ability of students to develop ideas likely to succeed in a "real world" commercial environment.

The winning concept, presented by a team of four Master of Commerce students, was Mediconnect, a virtual health assessment platform allowing a doctor to remotely diagnose a patient's condition.

"This system, which redistributes medical expertise to high demand areas, could significantly cut healthcare costs," said team member, James Crowther. "We already have a government interested in talking to us."

Deloitte Fastrack is a 13 week postgraduate team-based unit of study which provides students with an opportunity to develop and ultimately present innovative concepts to a panel of industry experts.

Available only to Master of Management students in the past, Deloitte Fastrack was also offered this year to students studying for a Master of Commerce degree.

"This is work integrated learning of the highest order," said the Business School's Deputy Dean (Education), Professor John Shields. "Units such as Deloitte Fastrack ensure that our learning and teaching remains highly relevant to the real world and that our graduates are well-prepared for the rigors and opportunities that characterise high-pressure professional work."

James Crowther sees industry engagement through Deloitte Fastrack with its ability to test his innovative ideas, as a "critical" element of his Master of Commerce degree course.

"Studying innovation without the opportunity to develop an idea is a bit like learning to ride a bike from a book," James said. "Innovation is a process that has to be practiced."

In congratulating the winning Business School team, which also included Master of Commerce students Courtney Nolan, Chao Liu and Simon Jacobson, Deloitte said that "the contest of ideas was fierce and the quality of delivery high".

Explaining Deloitte's backing for the competition, Fastrack organiser, Wes Sonnenreich, said the company was always looking for new innovative way of engaging with potential recruits.

"Deloitte's competitiveness is directly tied to the quality of its people," Mr Sonnenreich said. "The Fastrack program is a good opportunity for students to gain exposure and an understanding of Deloitte as they go on to make career choices."

Mr Sonnenreich went on to say that "the key takeaways" from the completion for the students were "teamwork, communications, business etiquette, and presentation and leadership skills".

"The program very effectively bridges the gap between university learning and a real world work experience," he said. Participating students find the experience a lot of work but also extremely rewarding."

Also working for Deloitte on the Fastrack program is University of Sydney Business School alumni, Viji Venkataramani.

"Understanding real world business problems and working as a team to research, brainstorm and resolve them systematically is a key business learning for every professional," she says. "This program equips participants with these core skills that add value in the short and long term of one's career."

Associate Dean, Dr Nigel Finch, recently said that the Business School would boost its involvement in national and international competitions that expose students to the rigors of the commercial world.

"Success in these competitions highlights our links with business and the ability of our students to manage allied projects," Dr Finch concluded.