Bright sparks blaze a trail

October 13, 2006

Winning has set many students firmly on the road to professional and financial success

Have competitors in past Imagine Cups set the world alight? Andrew Grieve of Aberdeen University was part of the team that won the UK Software Design Challenge 2004. He describes it as a "wonderful experience... one that I'd recommend to any student with a passion for technology".

Grieve is now a software engineer at Rare Ltd, a Microsoft game studio that helps programmers and artists develop new-generation games. "Being in the worldwide finals was awesome," he says. "The Imagine Cup provides the platform to meet people from all over the world who share a passion and interest in technology. Being an Imagine Cup participant is an amazing achievement to have on your CV."

Andy Sterland was in the UK final in 2004. "Through the Imagine Cup, I got a placement at Microsoft and worked with fantastic people," he says. "The UK finals had a great atmosphere, with the geeks locked in hotels with lots of gadgets - a truly inspirational event. Once you have a great idea, the tools make it easy."

Antranik Kasparian won the Microsoft Student Partner Star Award 2005. He says the experience has helped him make contacts through people he met at the finals. He is now an IT analyst for an investment bank.

Tu Nguyen of the University of Nebraska, winner of the Imagine Cup 2003 worldwide finals, used his entry to start up his own venture. "Winning was a great personal achievement that brought about a very thrilling year for me, including the start of my own business, based in part on the application I developed. The Imagine Cup is a wonderful way to expose student innovations to the industry and the world."

Peter Richards was part of Team Bayliss, a UK Imagine Cup Software Design Challenge finalist in 2004. His team designed and prototyped an online dating service using mobile technology. After graduating from York University in 2004, he joined BT and now works as a software development engineer. "It was a wonderful opportunity to work and compete with some great people with a range of technical backgrounds, learn about and apply cutting-edge technology to real-world applications and have a lot of fun," he says.

Team Bit Shifters - which comprises Adrian Collier from Bournemouth University, Andrew Webber from City University in London and Joseph Wardell from the University of Wales - Jbeat seven other teams to win the UK title and a trip to Japan to represent the UK in the worldwide finals in 2005.

Their idea, called OneReach, enables gap-year students to blog their journey from anywhere in the world from their SmartPhone. Parents and friends at home can view their progress, their blogs, pictures and videos on a website and keep in contact with them.
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