Student Spotlight: Lucy Eaton & Reference-Worthy Experiences
I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be involved in the DoorDash Fall Live Case Competition until it began. When I first received the email outlining the competition, I saved it to read later, but didn’t put much thought into it. Following a little pressure from one of my favourite professors, we assembled a group and signed up, but at that point I still had no idea what experiential learning was or how it would end up being one of the most useful projects in my college career.
As the case began and I read the brief, I realized how unique the opportunity was. We were creating a go-to-market strategy for a real company that affects the lives of students, just like us. Like many college students, I was used to traditional and often recycled case studies in class, based on outdated articles that were presented for a grade and minimal real use after the term ended. The chance to present a solution to a company like DoorDash, with real stakes was super exciting and motivating.
The reality of this opportunity became more obvious when Chasen White (Senior Manager Strategy & Ops at DoorDash) appeared at the first webinar, giving us insight into the company and providing us with his email for questions. As students, getting the chance to interact with a senior manager at DoorDash was an amazing opportunity that made us even more determined to develop our ideas.
One of my most significant learning experiences in the competition was creating the final deliverables that would be presented to the DoorDash executives. Most college projects require a black and white, double spaced paper, but for this we created a 3-minute explainer video and report. This was a unique learning experience because we showcased our research and final conclusion graphically, as well as explained it. Since we had the opportunity to market the strategy and demonstrate why it should be implemented, it mirrored a real sales pitch to DoorDash. In order to produce a visually compelling video and report, we used collaborative, design-focused tools like Canva rather than the usual office applications. This was just one of the many new skills and programs we developed throughout the competition, as we explored the most effective and innovative methods of communicating our ideas. A peripheral benefit of developing these skills was adding them to our professional profiles, like LinkedIn, to bolster a more attractive resume for future job searches.
Developing our strategy required research into every aspect of the problem that we were presented with in order to to ensure it was the best fit. We had to piece together the different business areas, using knowledge from class and prior work experience, and then delegate responsibilities between teammates that had more expertise in certain subjects. In this sense, it felt much more like a work group, where we all contribute different ideas, using a range of business areas, and work collaboratively.
The realities of 2020 became real halfway through the project when I had to isolate for two weeks. This dramatically affected our ability to meet in-person, therefore requiring a pivot in our work process and potential delays in our research. Despite this and the unpredictability of the semester, we succeeded in working virtually with frequent video calls and collaborative platforms for document editing/sharing. Continuing with the project even through the challenges was great preparation for the real workplace.
Just by competing, my team and I interacted with senior managers, conducted real industry research, created a go-to market strategy, and pitched our findings to DoorDash executives. So when we won, it was the icing on top of the cake! It was only when I began trying to figure out how to write this experience into a Linkedin post that I realized the significance of this the project in my personal and professional journey. In a few weeks, I integrated all the different business areas I had studied into a real-life winning pitch for DoorDash. I was able to post the Certificate of Completion to my Linkedin, boosting my profile and making use of the deliverables in interviews where I could clearly display and discuss the work.
As I graduate in Spring, I am in the process of applying for jobs, and most (if not all) of the interviews have asked about my experience working virtually. This competition has been a great reference for me to talk about with companies, and the skills I have learned are invaluable.
A Note from CapSource:
Like any professional or volunteer experience, work during a Capstone project or Live Case Competition deserves to be boasted about. Since employers focus their attention on the skills and experiences of a prospective candidate when determining if he/she can handle the rigors of a job, students need to be equipped with tangible, reference-worthy examples to share.
When university students partner with CapSource, the experiential learning projects provide them with real-world experience that can enhance any job interview as well as serve as a resume-booster for a portfolio or LinkedIn profile. The students’ learning outcomes are measurable and have a recognizable impact on the company/organization. As students join the next generation workforce, it is essential to leverage and communicate these strengths.
If you’re interested in learning more about the foundation of this high-impact learning methodology, check out our industry-integrated experiential learning model.