The name MindSumo conjures up a creative competition. When companies have problems to solve, they can now come to the startup company MindSumo, which presents the challenge to college students. Not only do the students exercise their learning skills and creativity, but the companies receive workable solutions and introductions to up-and-coming talent.
Starting in 2011, MindSumo drew students from Stanford, Harvard, MIT and 15 other major universities. But now any student with an .edu email address can participate. MindSumo says that this option prompted an almost 10 percent weekly increase in student interest.
MindSumo, based in Mountain View, California, is already working with companies well known for technology, such as Facebook, IBM and Microsoft.
“One of the driving factors behind MindSumo is our vision to make recruiting more merit-based,” Trent Hazy, CEO, told RESCUECOM. “By giving organizations access to students across the country, we’re helping top talent everywhere get discovered by great companies.”
To connect with students through MindSumo, employers can host a free virtual career booth, offer a simple brainstorming challenge (first one free, after that $400 each) or a more complex challenge ($1,500 and up).
MindSumo offers employers a chance to “try before you buy.” Some of the current challenges are how to create a sustainable human colony on Mars (Smithsonian magazine) and come up with an algorithm to prevent class scheduling conflicts (Chegg).
Among the completed challenges are how to use the performing arts to enhance education (Smithsonian magazine) and names for a new economy hotel chain (anonymous).
In addition to dependence upon computers for regular school studies, students now have another reason to keep those tools working optimally. Laptop repair has become a necessary college expense.
When the designated number of solutions have come in, the challenging company chooses the winners, based on “creativity, relevance and feasibility.” Winners receive cash prizes, usually between $50 and $150. Students proposing highly ranked solutions can earn attention from prospective employers and possibly land internships while they are still in school or full-time jobs after graduation.
Although college students can contribute many ideas to the corporate world, they may need expert computer support to solve some computer performance problems.
“It’s amazing to see what happens when you bring two groups together on the web,” said Rohan Puranik, MindSumo CTO. “MindSumo, being an online platform, eliminates the waste that results from traditional recruiting methods. Company recruiters no longer need travel to dozens of career fairs or host lengthy interviews with unqualified candidates.”
Technology companies can now use technology to identify college students who would fit in well with each business. Participants say this method is working better than traditional interviews and selection methods, and saves everyone involved time and money.
Students lose the rights to their submitted ideas, but the trade-off is experience in real problem-solving, exposure to potential employers and possibly cash.
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