2017 The Microsoft Hackathon Challenge

17 Jan 2017

15:00 -21:30


Open to: All

Cambridge Judge Business School

Trumpington St



United Kingdom


Female graduate students from across the University of Cambridge interested in embarking on technology careers came together on 16 January 2017 to compete in a Hackathon Challenge.

The participants came from a wide range of backgrounds, including business, engineering, bio-technology and medicine.

The event, organised by the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre at Cambridge Judge Business School, Newnham College and Microsoft, invited students from STEMM disciplines at the University of Cambridge and current students at Cambridge Judge and asked them to come up with creative ideas to tackle technological challenges.

During the day students worked in teams to offer new solutions on how Microsoft could improve customer engagement in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The teams brainstormed some ideas and then worked on recommendations combining technology and business aspects, with help from top executives from Microsoft.

2017 Hackathon participants.

Working with Newnham and Cambridge Judge was enriching for all sides. The high potential female students were full of energy and came to the Hackathon Challenge with rich insight and perspectives that were very relevant to solving the real world challenges in Microsoft. There was learning for all and the value created will hopefully be useful for years to come.

Amanda Mesler, General Manager, Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe


15:00 – 15:30

Arrival and registration

Jane Harrison Room

15:30 – 18:30

Cambridge Hackathon Challenge: “Transforming on Diversity”

Jane Harrison Room

18:45 – 19:30


The Principal’s Lodge

19:30 – 21:30


Clough Hall

Keynote speaker

Professor Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci
Principal, Newnham College

Amanda Mesler
General Manager, Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe


Amanda Mesler
General Manager, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Microsoft

Victoria Kimonides
Account Technology Strategy Director, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Microsoft

Chris Forrest
Senior Director Enterprise Sales and Industry, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Microsoft

Nicolaz Foucaud
Specialist Sales Director, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Microsoft

Filip Deschamps
Enterprise Business Solutions Lead, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Russia, Microsoft

Tobias Schmidt
Director of Enterprise Sales and Industry, Microsoft

Hristo Manov
General Manager, Baltics, Microsoft

Olivera Pesic
Human Resource Management for Commercial Segments, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Microsoft

Ero Konitopoulou
Team Coordinator, Microsoft

Photos from the event

View the photo album on Flickr

The Hackathon Challenge is a great example of how universities and corporations can work together to create an enriching learning experience for high potential women interested in pursuing careers in technology industries. This workshop provided an opportunity for participants to get firsthand experience on real issues facing Microsoft, work closely with seasoned executives from Microsoft to come up with high quality issues as well as learning from fellow participants who came from very different backgrounds.

Professor Sucheta Nadkarni, Director of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre

It was great to see the attitude with which the students ‘jumped in’ and owned in a way the challenge as well as the creativity and enthusiasm with which they engaged.

Victoria Kimonides, Account Technology Director, Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe