NCCU Students Take Top Title at HP Competition

Posted January 21, 2020, 4:29PM
Left to right: Ambrose Bond, Jacobia Johnson, Daniel Barbare and Hadeer Saleem

Students from North Carolina Central University took first place in the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Business Challenge held on Nov. 21, 2019. The event required teams to compete by solving business problems involving technology.

Established in 2017, the challenge was designed to develop future business leaders. This year marks NCCU’s second year earning a top-tier placement. NCCU’s team previously brought home a second-place award in 2018.

HP partnered with the National HBCU Business Deans Roundtable to promote the annual contest. For this year’s challenge, participants from 30 colleges and universities were asked to devise a product concept to solve a problem for the gaming sector. The technology gaint awarded students its Pavilion x360 convertible laptop and Sprocket Plus photo printer.

The NCCU team’s winning concept and prototype was the OMEN Cooling Immersion Citadel Gaming Chair, for PC gamers and tapping into the growth of this market, which is projected to be worth as much as $45 billion by 2021.  

“We saw applicability for simulations and training that provided an immersive experience with technology, including gaming in a work environment,” said Hadeer Salem, Senior Business Administration-Management major, one of four students on the team.

Along with Salem, the team included: Daniel Barbare, a senior chemistry major; Jacobia Johnson, a sophomore computer science and business major; and Ambrose Bond, a senior political science and business administration major with a concentration in finance.

“We had a lot of diversity of interest and study within our team, so it helped give us an edge,” said Barbare, who brought his knowledge of materials science to the team.

School of Business Dean Anthony Nelson, Ph.D., said the competition provides a valuable educational experience for the students.

Anytime our students are able to engage with executives from major organizations like HP, it offers such a rich opportunity for them to gain experiential insight and valued exposure to hands-on learning experiences. I am very proud of our student team for being recognized for their hard work and team effort.

- Anthony Nelson, Ph.D., School of Business Dean

For this year’s challenge, the teams had to respond to the following question: “What is a transformative product or service that shows where the gaming market is going in the next five years?”

“Our approach to the competition evolved throughout our engagement,” Bond said. “Once we recognized the value of utilizing our respective skillsets and interests, we were able to provide a uniquely diverse and expansive solution.”  

Johnson agreed.

“Our team was cohesive and recognized the importance of the overall goal of the project, which subsequently resulted in our victory,” Johnson said.


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