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Space-themed case competition returns to test outside-the-box problem-solving skills

At this year’s Annual Space Innovation Challenge (SIC), teams of students from the Tepper School of Business will collaborate with graduate students from across Carnegie Mellon and other top universities to develop and present solutions to a problem faced by new space industry companies. Through the competition, students will gain exposure to the unique business problems of this growing industry, connect with leaders at top space companies, and compete for $3,000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to receive funding for their ideas.

The case competition, now in its fourth year, is sponsored by Blue Origin, Astrobotic Technology, and Firehawk Aerospace. Blue Origin returns to sponsor the event after last year’s case competition where students pitched solutions for the first commercial lunar business. Zack Havanec, a previous participant, said, “Participating in the 2018 Space Innovation Challenge (SIC) not only allowed me to hone my analytical toolkit in a business environment facing unique challenges, but it also opened my eyes to the opportunity for growth in the space sector and the need for leaders with the ability to think outside the box.”

Beyond the skills gained from the experience of the case competition, participating in last year’s SIC also helped Zack land an internship with Blue Origin.

“It was through the SIC that I made connections with Blue Origin and was eventually able to secure a summer internship in Business Development with the Government Sales and Strategy team,” Zack said. “My team’s solution and results from the SIC were a core focus during my interview process and allowed me to stand out as a candidate for that position.”

Following that internship and finishing his second year at Tepper, Zack went on to accept a full-time position at Blue Origin.

Organized by Students at Tepper for Astronautics, Rockets, and Space (STARS), the interdisciplinary competition is open to business and non-business students alike. Teams are encouraged to add members from other graduate schools across the Carnegie Mellon community and even from other universities. Although students can independently assemble teams, STARS will host an info session and team formation event on October 13 to assist in connecting students from across schools.

The team formation deadline is October 28. The case prompt will be released shortly after, on October 31 and teams will have until November 5 to submit their presentations. Following the case submissions, STARS will host a pitch event judged by representatives from sponson companies Blue Origin, Astrobotic Technology, and Firehawk Aerospace on November 7 where the winner of the competition, and $3,000 in prizes, will be announced.

For more information and to register for the event, students can visit and attend the information session and team formation event on October 13 at 8:00 pm EST through CampusGroups or sign up via this form.

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