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Shaw Students to Show Off Business Skills at SXSW

If you’re a graduate of Shaw or another HBCU, you’ve undoubtedly heard of a battle of the bands. HBCU grads have always taken pride in their marching bands, but this spring in Austin, Texas, Shaw students are looking to bring home bragging rights for their school in a slightly different competition: The 2018 HBCU Battle of the Brains

The event is a hack-a-thon style competition in which student teams are given a prompt and told to come up with a business plan and pitch it within 24 hours. The Austin chapter of the National Black MBA Association is organizing this event as part of South by Southwest (SXSW), a massive annual conglomerate of festivals and conferences that attracts visitors from all over the world. 

Shaw students Tyler Ford, Briona May, and Alexis Hill will make the trip for Shaw University this year, and they are hoping to add a computer science student to round out their team as well. 

“I think the competition itself is important because it exposes students to competing on a global scale and thinking very quickly,” said Tyler Ford. “I’m definitely looking forward to going down to compete and try to win something,” 

The purpose of the competition is to allow students to showcase their skills in front of big time players in the business and tech world, raise awareness of HBCU student talent, and just have fun. In addition, there’s $50,000 or more in scholarship money for the winners. 

 “You get a prompt and then within 24 hours you have to turn around and make a business plan and you’re away from home with limited resources. I think on that level it prepares students for real world job experiences while allowing us to pitch in front of tech companies and future employers,” said Ford. 

Want to help Tyler, Briona and Alexis bring home first place for Shaw? You can donate to help cover their travel expenses here

The 2018 Battle of the Brains will take place from March 9-10 at South by Southwest in Austin, TX.