Universitas 21 (U21) and PwC have announced that Sarah Hashmi from the University of Birmingham is the overall winner of the third and final round (C) of the 2018-19 U21/PwC Innovation Challenge competition.  

Universitas 21 and PwC, two globally-focused organisations, came together in 2018 to offer the Innovation Challenge. This unique partnership was formed to offer Masters and PhD students at U21 institutions access to global work opportunities in a mutually beneficial relationship. First prize is an expenses-paid week-long trip to PwC Dubai and all top three entrants are offered career development coaching sessions with the PwC Academy.

Sarah Hashmi’s winning entry argued that skills such as creativity, problem-solving, interpersonal skills and adaptability are ‘skills of the future’. 

Sarah Hashmi, an MSc Clinical Neuropsychiatry student said:  “I am thrilled to have won the Universitas 21 and PwC Innovation Challenge.  The competition considered the future of work which is a current trending topic with widespread impact and relevance in everyone’s life. The Innovation Challenge engaged the participants in the issue, encouraging them to look at the bigger picture, which I found to be an invaluable insight.

“I offer my congratulations to all the participants for stepping out of their comfort zone and taking the steps that undoubtedly lead to success. I would like to encourage all students interested to take this opportunity and participate regardless of their background. Finally, I thank Universitas 21, PwC and the University of Birmingham for creating this opportunity.”

The challenge asks students to respond to the idea of working in a world where corporate is king. Students in this round had to consider what skills would be important for individuals to thrive in this work environment and how they plan to adapt.

U21 Provost, Professor Bairbre Redmond said: "In the third and final group round of the U21/PwC Challenge Competition, we received the largest number of entries for members in any round so far, all at a very impressive standard. It was inspiring to hear U21 students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds take on and discuss the challenges of surviving in the Blue World of work – one in which the corporate reigns supreme. Their understanding of the complex issues facing new graduates heading into the workplace at a time of rapid change was impressive. I know that the judges faced a hard decision in choosing a winner and my warmest congratulations to the group winner, Sarah Hashmi (University of Birmingham) and also to every student who entered the competition. My very sincere thanks also to those academics and professional staff in the students’ home universities who took time to organise and support them in their applications."

The dates for the 2019-2020 round of the Innovation Challenge will be announced in June 2019.