FASTRACK Innovation Challenge program wins B-HERT Award 2013
B-HERT Award: Best Higher Education & Training Collaboration
A collaborative effort between Macquarie University, The University of Sydney, Griffith University, Intersective and Deloitte claimed the B-HERT educational award for a specially developed, work-integrated learning program designed to give students a guided, real-world industry experience – the Deloitte FASTRACK Innovation Challenge.
Over the last 3 years, the collaboration between Macquarie University, Intersective and Deloitte have successfully run multiple cohorts of students through the Deloitte FASTRACK Innovation Challenge.
Students develop a $50M innovation either for Deloitte, one of its clients or for national benefit. They iterate ideas and prototypes, culminating in a business pitch to a panel of Deloitte Senior Executives, competing for a $5,000 state-wide prize each semester.
The program is designed to be challenging, ambiguous and intensive. Students are formed into diverse groups explicitly calibrated to create the potential for high performance. Teams can then access Deloitte subject matter experts, who provide the business context, expert advice or opinions and network connections.
So, what do our students think?
2013 Bachelor of Commerce student and program participant, Dalena Nguyen, describes the program as broadening her way of thinking and defines her experience as "one of the most educational and enriching programs" that she has had the opportunity to be part of.
Faculty Academic Director for PACE, Dr. Leanne Carter has been the driving force behind incorporating the Deloitte FASTRACK Challenge as a PACE unit of study in the Faculty of Business & Economics since its inception in 2011.
Dr Leanne Carter, Faculty Academic Director of PACE
Intersective's programs challenge and support our students in refining their core professional capabilities.
As a result of the program we are able to produce graduates with deliverables of high quality and work-ready skills.
Making our graduates more employable
FASTRACK was originally designed to address the growing theory/practice skills gap at undergraduate and master's levels. Deloitte have noted that their newly recruited graduates often need 1-2 years training before being "client ready". The FASTRACK program closes this gap – recruits from the program are seen as having the "soft skills" of a second or third year employee.
This is accomplished by exposing the students to teamwork, ambiguous criteria for success and comprehensive feedback. Students receive industry feedback when their work isn't sufficient and are required to raise their skills in order to deliver business quality work.
As a key component of the University's strategic direction, PACE gives Macquarie students the chance to participate in innovative programs such as the Deloitte FASTRACK Innovation Challenge and connect with relevant industry partners in a professional environment. The PACE program has been successful in substantiating both the worth and practicality of work integrated learning programs as an integral component in the repertoire of higher education.
By way of allowing students to engage in such practical experiences whilst completing their university studies the PACE initiative should be distinguished for ensuring that Macquarie University, our industry partners and our students remain at the forefront of innovative educational practices at a global level.