When Soledad Bautista, a senior marketing major in the UTSA Carlos Alvarez College of Business, applied to participate in the Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI) Battle of the Brains competition, she didn’t realize how much she would gain from the experience.
Bautista was motivated to apply for the competition for a chance to meet like-minded students and network with representatives from various companies.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to travel, network and try something outside of my usual involvement with the UTSA Spirit of San Antonio band, the Business Honors Program and as a peer mentor,” Bautista said.
She traveled to Austin, Texas with two staff sponsors and seven UTSA students representing various colleges to participate in the March competition. The series of events included a 24-hour competition, workshops, company tours and panel discussions over the course of the week.
The week’s events began with the 24-hour cross-discipline competition in which Bautista’s team was tasked with developing a plan to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 for KPMG, the event’s title sponsor. The team had a few hours to turn in their solution consisting of an outline, business and marketing plan, executive summary, two-minute pitch, a presentation and technology solution. The following day, finalists were selected to present their pitches. Although Bautista’s team did not make it to the final round of the competition, she enjoyed working with members of her diverse team.
Before the competition, Bautista knew only one fellow business student on the trip, but emerged from the experience with a larger network friends.
“A major takeaway from the competition was learning how to work as a team,” Bautista said. “As we got to know each other, we realized we had different backgrounds, but we found a way to communicate and strategize well despite those differences.”
In addition to learning the value of teamwork and developing friendships, Bautista engaged with students from other HSIs during socials and made professional connections with employees at Amazon, Dell Technologies, Expedia Group and KPMG.
Bautista encourages fellow Alvarez College of Business students to consider participating in future Battle of Brains competitions and other experiential learning opportunities because of the valuable skills and experience she gained.
“The event helped me apply my classroom knowledge, participate in events outside of my comfort zone and gave me confidence in my job search. I realized I can do things I did not think I could do, and the opportunities offered by the Alvarez College of Business have prepared me well for a corporate career,” she concluded.