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2017 The Microsoft Hackathon Challenge

2017 Hackathon participants.

16 January 2017, Newnham College

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.

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


Arrival and registration

Jane Harrison Room


Cambridge Hackathon Challenge: “Transforming on Diversity”

Jane Harrison Room



The Principal’s Lodge



Clough Hall

Professor Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci
Principal, Newnham College

Amanda Mesler
General Manager, Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe

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

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

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

Photo gallery

View the photos on Flickr