What Makes a Great MindSumo Challenge Solution?
It is really important to our team that we do our best to help students create great MindSumo challenge solutions. These challenges are your time to shine in front of companies and nothing makes us sadder than seeing someone with a great idea fall short because his or her solution was not well written. We want you to be proud of your solutions because we believe they belong on your resume and cover letters.
In addition to winning more prize money, learning how to put together better challenge solutions will give you practice into becoming a more effective and persuasive communicator. This skill will pay some serious dividends when you start your job and need to get your team and boss to buy into your recommendations.
Today we are going to help you turn your solutions from meh to amazing by providing a sample response with tips. Enjoy.
The sample MindSumo challenge we are going to tackle is on teaching Millennials financial literacy and build lasting customer relationships. This challenge is on the more difficult side of the spectrum so there are plenty of opportunities to highlight the different elements in a solution.
Sample Solution (Tips are bolded and italicized)
My solution would be to replace traditional financial literacy materials that sound like they came out of a textbook with a series of personal blog posts and videos that feature an interesting story of a real person.
The traditional approach to educating Millennials about financial literacy doesn’t work because it is dry, boring, and impersonal. Think about how many people actually want to sit down and learn how interest rates and inflation work on their $100 savings account? According to a 2016 study by consulting PWC, only 27% of the Millennials surveyed had actually sought professional financial advice. Yet a Google search on the phrase “How to Manage Money” will generate 383 million results which tells me people are interested in the topic. Using more personal content with real people to communicate financial information will bridge this gap between financial literacy and Millennials.
Tips: Before diving directly into answering individual questions, it is a good practice to lead off with an executive summary that clearly states your recommendation and why.
It is usually more powerful to start off with you answer first followed by your arguments and assumptions. With that said anytime you make an opinion or recommendation, always follow up with the reasons why.
Strong opinions are encouraged as long as they aren’t overly aggressive. Also using stats from a reliable source is an incredibly valuable way to boost your arguments and recommendations. That’s why you see so much of it during election debates.
Challenge Question Part 1: Identify an entry point for this conversation with Millennials. What content and education resources would be valuable and engaging for this generation, and why?
Answer: A great entry point for engaging with Millennials is at the moment when the person obtains a big inflow of cash like when a paycheck is received, a high value item is sold on Craigslist, or a gift has been given. Because many Millennials have immediate expenses to pay off like rent and student loans, the need for information to make the right financial decision should happen as soon as the funds become available instead of at other times when these decisions are not top of mind.
Valuable and engaging content can be found in interesting stories that are relevant to the everyday life of a Millennial. Speaking about a house or retirement in the distant future through a website or pamphlet isn’t going to resonate with our group. Millennials rather consume videos and articles from trusted YouTube channels and bloggers and curated sites like BuzzFeed.
Therefore, the content that will do well on these channels are not the detailed guides and instructions that get sent over in these giant envelopes from banks. Rather great content is informative entertainment – like an actual story of Sarah who decided to bring in lunch every day instead of eating out to save $100/month. She is doing this because doesn’t want to be in the same situation as her mom who just retired without savings and had to move in. In this situation, Sarah’s situation is the primary feature here but the secondary lesson on finance gets absorbed as well.
Tips: First thing to do is to make sure to answer every part of the question being asked. A surprising number of submissions will start answering one part of the question and totally forget to answer all the other parts of the question.
Though not shown in this example, using media and visuals is a great way to enhance your submission. Graphs, tables, videos, or a few PowerPoint slides can have a great impression.
Don’t be afraid to use real life examples from your own personal observations. Judges want to hear from your perspective and how things impact you.
Challenge Question Part 2: How do we maintain continuous interaction? We want to stay in touch with Millennials after the initial educational experience. How do we continue being helpful without pushing products and services on Millennials?
Answer: In my experience good interactions from companies consist of:
- Entertaining content and messages that make me want to engage
- Frequency of interaction being around once a week to once every other week so I am not constantly being bothered
- Personal messaging and content that is relevant to my needs
- Good user experience design that allows me to quickly find what I need
With that said here are my top 3 ideas for continuous interaction:
- Create a new habit with Millennials to have them check their financials weekly and have them visit your site as part of that habit. For example, you can have a Walking Dead Walkthrough of Finances every Sunday to get people to check in during their favorite show.
- Make your company the single authority on a popular topic that Millennials are constantly looking up information on. A good example is your site has the go to tool for checking rent prices in a city which will draw in Millennials who are constantly moving and looking for this information. When people land on your site, you can introduce them to other information and services.
- Funny alerts through a mobile app. Sometimes people are just busy and forget to check in on their finances. Use funny language to get someone’s attention and decrease the likelihood that they are annoyed by the reminder
Tips: Using bullets instead of writing everything in a paragraph is a super easy way to make it easier for your reader to understand your thoughts
Another great strategy is to present the criteria that you have for evaluating your solutions. It helps the judges understand what is important in your decision-making process.
Creativity counts! The use of the Walking Dead in this example gives the solution style points and makes it more memorable. Also if you Google ideas for your solution, it’s likely that the judges have already seen them. Try to come up with something that doesn’t truly exist.
Good luck and keep those submissions coming!