Published 04/10/12

The Hartford Case Competition: Pushing one another toward a winning mobile app

April 10, 2012

Bryant students not only think outside of the box… they challenge each other to go even further.

That’s what Emily Carow '13 said about her team’s brainstorming process that eventually led them to victory over students from Bentley University, Boston University, and the University of Connecticut at the final round of The Hartford Case Competition on March 30. The team was mentored by Bryant alumnus Tom Carroll '11, a member of The Hartford's Financial Leadership Development Program.

“We were stuck at the beginning thinking ‘There is only so much we can do with a financial mobile application.’ But by pushing each other to think outside of the box, we developed our unique gaming application idea. From there, it was smooth sailing,” she said.

The team, consisting of five Bryant juniors, presented two options: a more traditional app, Bulldog Helper, offering an annuity calculator, checklist and a real-time chat, as well as an innovative gaming app dubbed Bulldog Sketch, which allows users to play Pictionary with their friends and, after each turn, a popup appears offering a prevention tip or an advertisement for the Bulldog Helper.

“Through our research, we found that ‘gamifying’ processes originally unrelated to games is an extremely effective tool in increasing brand awareness and customer retention,” said Carow, who participated alongside peers Timothy Drechsler-Martell '13, Adrianna Lublin '13, Alexa McIsaac '13, and Haley Onofaro '13.

 “As an undergrad, I was excited to have the opportunity to give a presentation to the heads of such a large insurance company,” said Lublin.

Professor's coaching makes a difference

The key ingredient to the judges’ glowing reviews of their presentation skills was Executive-in-Residence Jim Segovis, Ph.D. “Without Professor Segovis’ help, the final results could have been a lot different,” she said.

“One of the greatest attributes of Bryant is how willing the professors are to help students. None of us had Professor Segovis in a class, yet he was willing to commit time to help us prepare for the competition,” said Drechsler-Martell.

It was the first time Bryant had participated in the event, and the victory is not a nominal one. The team walked away with a total prize of $2,000, which they will divvy up among themselves. Furthermore, Carow landed a spot for this summer with The Hartford’s Technology Leadership and Development Internship program while Drechsler-Martell will intern at the Hartford Investment Management Company.

 “Succeeding outside the classroom feels great, but succeeding in a team of people that you trust and believe in feels even better,” said Drechsler-Martell.