Grand Challenges Team Designs Winning Rewards System for Bank of America

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Summary Sentence:

A group of ten sophomores from the Grand Challenges program have taken first place in Bank of America’s 2013 Campus Challenge.

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  • Bank of America Campus Challenge Winners Bank of America Campus Challenge Winners

A group of ten sophomores from the Grand Challenges program have taken first place in Bank of America’s 2013 Campus Challenge.

The competition consisted of two rounds. In round one, the team was asked to create a data organization system that could be used to illustrate relationships between customers and clients. Their initial prototype displayed transaction information, demographics, and other data in a simple interface.

A single team from each of the twelve participating universities was chosen to move on to round two. In round two, Bank of America asked each team to suggest improvements to its current customer rewards system. Bank of America currently offers a one-time, $100 gift to customers that open a credit card at one of their locations.

Unfortunately, one-time gifts do not reward customers for being financially responsible or being active with their budgeting. The Grand Challenges team felt that they could fix this problem by designing a rewards system that focuses on the long-term benefits of financial responsibility and increases a user’s involvement in their Bank of America accounts.

“Other teams seemed to be bogged down by trying to come up with the most accurate solution possible, but our team felt like there wasn't one right answer,” said Ethan Smith, a second-year industrial engineering student and member of the team. “We had no experience in finance or the banking industry—the ideas that we came up with were based on our collective experience with banks. We then chose realistic but innovative solutions based on those experiences.”

Despite the simplicity of their approach, which included intense brain-storming sessions and objective problem-solving techniques, the team was faced with one distinct challenge: finding the time to develop high-quality deliverables while balancing the demanding schedules of ten college students.

Smith credits their success to the team’s collective experience in Grand Challenges.

“Through Grand Challenges, we learned the skills required to work on this competition like teamwork, report writing, and time management,” Smith said. “We worked well together because we all lived together and knew each other last year, but we couldn't have won if it weren't for everyone's dedication to the project. In the end, our hard work paid off. ”

Team members received $5000 each for their individual contribution to the team’s solution. Bank of America also donated $50,000 to Georgia Tech and is considering integrating the team’s solution into their existing rewards system.

Team Members:

  • Paul Anderson, 2nd year, Business Administration
  • Sarah Lynn Bowen, 2nd year, Business Administration
  • Misha Desai, 2nd year, Industrial Engineering
  • Courtney Hall, 2nd year, Industrial Engineering
  • Alec Kaye, 2nd year, Industrial Engineering
  • Patrick Kelly, 2nd year, Business Administration
  • Ethan Smith, 2nd year, Industrial Engineering
  • Alex Stelea, 2nd year, Computer Science
  • Elizabeth Waters, 2nd year, Mechanical Engineering
  • Zac Zachow, 2nd year, Aerospace Engineering

Bank of America Press Release:

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Bank of America Campus Challenge, grand challenges
  • Created By: Alison Hemmelgarn
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jul 31, 2014 - 5:40am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:16pm