Four students from the University of Auckland scooped the top award at MYOB's IT Challenge finals for their simple and intuitive cashflow calendar designed for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Team Steak, also known as third-year engineering and finance students Benny Chun, Zi Yuan Tee, Raymond Wang and Shurui Li, spent many late nights developing a prototype and putting detail into their solution.
According to MYOB New Zealand general manager Carolyn Luey, this year featured an impressive calibre of solutions.
“The winners, Team Steak, had an excellent proof of concept combined with a comprehensive commercial model that won over the judges,” she says.
She adds that today's companies are looking for employees with a range of skills, and the MYOB IT Challenge is a way for students to exercise these skills in a real-world, team environment.
“Companies today are seeking employees with different types of skill sets – hiring graduates has evolved from looking for technical competency, to looking for the ability to collaborate and work as a team,” Luey continues.
Team Steak's Zi Yuan Tee adds that the team was brainstorming for a long time before settling on its concept.
The team's cashflow calendar is an application that helps business owners chronologically forecast their incomings and outgoings, which means it's easy to spot any upcoming cashflow problems.
“The different stages of the MYOB IT Challenge and the feedback we received from the judges along the way really helped us to refine the product and our business case,” says Zi Yuan Tee.
But it wouldn't be a win without its challenges – most of the team was overseas when the final took place.
“There were quite a few calls and messages when we needed to make changes or clarify areas. Then it was left to the two of us to present to the judges. We are so pleased to have done our team proud by taking away the top prize," says Zi Yuan Tee.
According to Fonterra's director of strategic capabilities and organisational health, Vincent Vuillard, the judging team was impressed with Team Steak's ability to explain the problem and the solution.
“The passion that all of the students across the competition put into their solutions was inspiring. The diverse range of disciplines being studied meant teams were able to develop innovative and compelling entries,” says Vuillard.
“The innovative and entrepreneurial ideas that we see coming through the challenge bodes well for the future of New Zealand's tech industry.
Team Steak plans to celebrate by going out for a nice meal of steak before developing their solution further.