Things to Know for the Schneider Go Green Student Competition
You know, how in interviews, when the actors are asked how was the film environment and they always reply that it was the best environment they’ve ever worked in? While that is true, there is also a lot of effort and hard work that goes behind the screen to create those beautiful scenes. Today, I take you behind the scenes of the Schneider Go Green competition and tell you everything you need to know about it.
My name is Hossam Ahmed and I was a part of the team HEVA, which was nominated for the finals from the Middle East and Africa Region. I am studying Electrical and Electronics engineering in Turkey at the Middle East Technical University. Since high school, I have been conducting various researches and participating in different research competitions with what I have concluded. I have presented my research on several TV programs and in some newspapers. However, Schneider Go Green is completely different. It is not a research competition but rather a global student competition that needed a business case. I had to convert my ideas and research into an appropriate business product that could have an impact on technology in our modern world. For a technical guy like me, this was totally out of my comfort zone, but I took it up as a challenge and decided to participate. Here you will find 5 lessons for a global student competition, so you don’t have to learn the hard way for the Schneider Go Green competition.
And so here is my Go Green challenge story along with a lot of important lessons. I have been working on my research since 2016, checking it’s results and simulations for more than a year. I participated in an international research competition and won second place in 2018. Since I am highly interested in such innovative competitions, when my friend informed me about the Schneider Go Green competition, I knew I had to participate in it. Initially, I asked my friend who studies in Europe to take part with me. Since she had a background in engineering and business, it would help me a lot in this project. After finishing the presentation and submitting it for review, we were informed that it couldn’t be accepted as we are from different regions! According to the Schneider Go Green rules, we didn’t classify for the region we originally chose.
Hence, lesson number 1: Check the rules very carefully and ask the support team to clarify any unclear information.
My friend suggested I find someone from my region in order to still be able to participate in the challenge. I asked my friend Fidan, who studied at the same university as mine, to create an account and participate with me in the challenge. Before this challenge, we hadn’t worked together on any projects, and we only had a few days left for the deadline. We participated together as a team in the challenge, but as time went on, we discovered that we had very different working styles. This caused us some stress, but everything worked out in the end during our presentation—we did amazing.
So, lesson Number 2: Spend a good amount of time choosing your teammate and make sure that you are compatible with each other. It’ll make your life much easier and much more efficient.
After submitting our presentation, results were declared, and we were nominated for the semi-finals. We were very excited about it and during that time, we were assigned an amazing mentor, Mr. Gökhan Kılıç, who is the Project Development (Prescription) Manager – Turkey & Central Asia at Schneider Electric. This turned out to be one of the best things for us. It helped me develop and learn a lot. We explained our presentation to him and he really looked at it from the perspective of a professional who cares about how others see the presentation and what effect it will have on spectators. With his help, we polished the finest details in our presentation. I learned so much from him during the mentoring phase, it truly was one of the best experiences I could have ever had during the competition.
Then came the day of presenting to the judges for the semi-finals, Fidan and I were invited to Schneider Electric in Istanbul to present. We finished our final touches of the presentation, however, there were some problems while presenting and I wasn’t very satisfied with our performance. A few days later, the results were announced and guess what, we didn’t win! We got second place. I was a little disappointed since I knew we could have done better, but that’s alright. I was all set to travel back to my home country, Egypt. However, on the day of my journey, an announcement was made – the first team did not meet the conditions for participating in the challenge, which made our team the winner of the Middle East and Africa region!
Lesson number 3: Make sure you and your partner are eligible before participating in the competition otherwise you will be disqualified.
After hearing the news that our team was nominated for the finals, it was a shock! It was only when I connected with all the other finalists and the Schneider Electric team, the feeling sunk in. This opportunity had put a lot of responsibility on us. We had to do our best! As a technical guy, I started making a prototype for our project. Then I realized that I couldn’t travel with the electric circuits and that they need to be packaged. Meanwhile, I applied for my Europe visa to travel. I applied 18 days in advance of my travel date. But I had the most unique experience that any finalist could ever have had – my teammate and I were both refused the visa for a very unexpected reason. Hence, we wouldn’t be able to go to the finals. I was so confused and upset.
Here I saw a different side of the Schneider Electric team, they showed their professionalism, they did their best to help me travel and tried to think of other ways to help us deliver our project. They got professional videographers for both of us in two different countries to help us deliver the best we could under these circumstances. They were so professional in dealing with us mentally as well. I knew it would’ve been even tougher for them after all the preparations that they had done. But it was a truly wonderful and professional environment full of people who knew how to deal flawlessly with hardships.
Here comes the fourth lesson of a global student competition: Start making travel arrangements as early as possible. So, in case something goes wrong, you will have time to re-apply and solve the problem.
The Final Test
Obviously, to be a finalist and not to be able to attend the Schneider Electric Innovation Summit, to not have this amazing experience by interacting with the finalists from the different regions, who I am sure were all very interesting and unique, to not be able to listen to the keynote by Jean-Pascal Tricoire, the CEO and chairman of Schneider Electric was indeed a very big chance that I missed. But I learnt not to give up and to continue fighting till the end, thanks to the Schneider Electric team. Hence, our presentations were shown to the judges along with a video displaying the testing of the prototype. My teammate, Fidan and I participated via Skype. I could see that they really liked the prototype video and our presentation but unfortunately, due to the limited time and sound quality, we had a few setbacks.
So, fifth and final lesson: I’m sure that if you’re nominated for the finals, you’re going to have the most amazing experience. Go Green is one of the most respectable student competitions and participating in it opens a lot of new doors in your professional life. It provides you with a lot of good exposure and networking from all over the world. They even share your account link in Schneider Electric’s global social media pages. This way a lot of professionals get to know you and connect with you. As a senior student, it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.
So, do yourself a favor, learn from others’ mistakes and participate in Schneider Go Green 2020 global student competition. It is their 10 year anniversary and the winner will have a chance to have a tour at MIT and Green-town labs. So what are you waiting for? Apply now at: www.gogreen.se.com
Best of Luck!