About the HBCU Battle of the Brains


Timeline: Thursday, March 8, 2018 – Monday, March 12, 2018

Mission: To promote the talented business and STEM students within the African American community while highlighting the benefits of SXSW, as well as the technology industry, in an engaging and dynamic way.

Target Market: Business and STEM students of color ranging from college freshmen to graduate school students.

BOTB Problem to Solve: To be provided at the orientation.

The 2018 HBCU Battle of the Brains competition will pit teams of students from HBCUs around the country to determine which school is the HBCU Battle of the Brains Champion.

Colleges and universities are encouraged to send their best and brightest team representing various schools (Business, Communications, Engineering, Mathematics, Marketing, Public Policy, Science, Technology, etc…). Teams will be required to provide a comprehensive solution to the designated issue.

Teams from universities around the country will compete until the Final Four teams are identified. Teams will be comprised of 3-5 undergraduate and/or graduate school students, as well as up to two designated researchers (optional). Those teams will pitch live in front of an audience and crowd participation will constitute one of the five final votes.

One team will be crowned the BOTB champion. Teams will be encouraged to incorporate technology, design, policy, business and STEM components into their business solutions.

Teams will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. Analysis – ability to thoroughly articulate the technology and business value of their solution.
  2. Business/Technology Solution – proposed solution using current and/or future technology trends.
  3. Presentation – the ability to pitch their solution effectively to the panel of participants.
  4. Q&A – demonstrated mastery of subject through by addressing the judge’s inquiries.

Participating teams will have 24 hours to develop a solution based on the business challenges presented [ex: social engagement tool/platform/strategy (website/mobile app), a marketing plan with collateral, a go-to-market strategy for technology solution].

*** Only one team per HBCU will be allowed to represent that school. ***

NOTE: The HBCU Battle of the Brains will be made up of a variety of components. In addition to the competition, there will be a welcome reception, awards ceremony, and more. The competition itself will take place on Friday, March 9, 2018 – Saturday, March 10, 2018. Participating teams must attend the welcome reception on Thursday, March 8, 2018.


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