UW Apprentice


The UW Apprentice Competition was held during the weekend of July 19-21, 2013 at multiple locations in UW. It was a competition designed to pick the Ultimate apprentice from UW (similar to the Apprentice show by Donald Trump) and also give the competitors a simulation of real world challenges faced by Entrepreneurs.

The first day, was a meet and greet session with all the participants and the Exec members. We had icebreakers, a mini intro presentation and lots of chatter. This was also a day where you secretly size up your competitors and get to know all about them.
I wish to say the first day was a smooth sailing but outside all this was a raging thunderstorm that ravished almost half the tree branches and a mega blackout in Waterloo.

Day 2, the commencement of Case Competition!
Each of the case studies was unique and definitely interesting. But this gets even better; you are randomly assigned to a team of 4-5 people and are racing against time to compete with your ideas with the other groups. Each of the Case Studies required real life solutions to a problem faced by the start-ups in Waterloo! The Judges were generally the CEO of the Companies and select Exec members. We were judged by quality of work, a report submission and a visual presentation.

Case One was about creating a Promo Video:
We had this hyper-active CS Whiz: Brian Troy come in and present his case on Night Club Booth!
Our Team of 4: Hanson, Karthiga, Adil and Me were frantically coming up with numerous ideas and decided to go with the best Idea we could. A Rick Mercer’esque Promo Video highlighting the key points in ONE SHOT. We had three takes to get what we wanted and wrapped it up thinking it was the greatest idea!

During the presentation Arena: Our first surprise was not knowing our competitors. Never did we expect someone to be master class in using video editing and using technology way efficiently than our 1990’s tradition of a TV Ad. After this challenge I realized a few things, Even if you come up with the best idea you could, there will be better ideas. Specifically, I learnt about how powerful a movie editor can be!

On to Case two was the Headwinds Sales Challenge: Selling Popsicle in Waterloo.
Our team: Hanson, Lydia, Raheem and Me were practically running up whole of Waterloo and pitching on the streets for selling Popsicle. We also gave our Team monitoring Exec Anna Gao a hard time in making her run with us, srry. Our Strategies included: Entertaining the customers, Flashing the Popsicle sign, Dancing, Running like Usain Bolt so we can ask more people into buying and doing manual labor and getting them to buy our ice-cream.

The hindsight continued… We felt we did our business without hurting our conscience and tried the best we could! But unfortunately we underestimated the ruthlessness in the world of Business and how having connections and cars would help you.

On to case three, this was running a Marketing Campaign in New York. At this point, I was tired and drenched with sweat, running around Waterloo. My only hope was this was the final case of the day. In this case, I was with Scott Walton (Who later came to be the UW Apprentice Champ), Carla (also a strong competitor) and Raheem. Working with Scott made me realize how thorough and detailed he was in each and every level of his approach to the solution. Carla was also extremely smart, and her persuasive skills was second to best if not best (Scott, being the exception). Scott possessed a breadth of knowledge from his numerous experiences which enabled a wide scope of thinking.

In this case, there was a lot to take. But possessing a vast amount of knowledge and experience in doing a thorough job are what makes the difference between a Good and Excellent. We had a chill evening at Bowling alley later in the evening to boost our spirits. Thank you Banuja, Nimra, Patricia and the whole Exec Team for this!

The Next and Final Day also saw some exciting cases. The highlight of the day was the KIK Messenger Case Study – Building the next monetary Prototype Cards. KIK Messenger is one of the Big wave of IT companies that has over 70 million User Base. The case dealt with their prototype for one of their upcoming products.Our Team: David, Adil, Tarek and Me had some interesting ideas and created a Balsamic Prototype for a Product “Wee Gift you”.
On to the presentation Ceremony, to raise up the climax, the Top three finalists were asked to give an impromptu 1 min speech to decide the winner! We had a celebration finale with some keynote speakers from Velocity, a few Student start-up CEO’s and the Dean of Engineering.

To sum it, all the cases were interesting and each had some unique learning aspects that posed us. It was definitely a great motivator and my first step towards Entrepreneurship and on to face many more challenges!