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NCCU Students Capture Second-Place Title at Competition

Pictured left to right: Hollan Strepay, Zakiya Smith and Danzel Whitted.

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Business students took second place in the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Business Challenge designed to inspire and encourage future business leaders.

HP partners with the National HBCU Business Deans Roundtable for the annual contest that asks students from 22 colleges and universities to devise a product concept to solve a specified business issue facing the international technology company. This year’s problem involved a vertical workflow challenge.

The NCCU team that won second place in this year’s contest was made up of Zakiya Smith, a senior marketing and entrepreneurship major; Hollan Strepay, a sophomore business management major; and Danzel Whitted, a senior computer science and business major. The students will travel to HP headquarters in Boise, Idaho, and Palo Alto, Calif., in 2019 to present their ideas to senior executives and also participate in live interviews for HP internships during their visit.  

“We are so thankful to organizations, like HP, who demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion through opportunities like this to engage students with senior level executives and presenting case studies that broaden their scope and capabilities,” said Anthony Nelson, Ph.D., Dean of NCCU School of Business, “We are very proud of our team and their hard work during the competition.”

For its entry, the NCCU team chose to research the healthcare industry and develop a method to strengthen patient and nurse interactions. Their proposal, called HP Vitalwatch, would allow patients to have access to vital records in any setting. The proposal would significantly assist nurses in capturing data and ensure continuous access to information needed to track patient health.

“Participating in the HP Business Challenge was a wonderful learning experience,” Strepay said. “The ability to work so closely with HP executives will empower me to become more well versed on business practices and product innovation.”

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