Last month, 90 global strategy students took part in a Hackathon at Hult’s undergraduate campus in London as part of the Day of Disruption. Working with Andrew Cowen and Liliana Caimacan from Unilever and consultant Helen Merchant, students participated in two pressurized sessions during the 9-hour event.

Given the brief to create a new lifestyle brand, students worked in teams on two activities. For Hack 1, teams identified the consumer, creating target personas to understand the customer and their background. For Hack 2, the teams investigated different brand touchpoints to understand the customer’s experiences with the brand and proposed different channels that could be used.

Hackathon work
Students compare notes, thinking critically about the challenge ahead.
Hackathon collaboration
Teams had to work fast, collaborating under pressure to hone their ideas.

After each hack, the teams presented to the expert panel and received feedback. At the end of the event, four teams were honored with prizes for their outstanding work, and ten students were selected to apply for three 6-month paid internships at Unilever’s headquarters in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Hackathon presentation
Student teams presented their ideas to their peers and the expert panel.

The Hackathon provided a creative and innovative way to engage in transformative thinking. It exposed our students to real-world problems, enabling them to apply what they have learned in class. The Hackathon was a total success as it pushed our students out of their comfort zone and enabled them to demonstrate tenacity and creativity under pressure.

“The Hackathon pushed our students out of their comfort zone and enabled them to demonstrate tenacity and creativity under pressure.”

The Unilever executives were thrilled with the quality and professionalism of Hult students. “I want to thank the whole Hult team for the outstanding organization, involvement, and support,” Unilever’s Liliana Caimacan commented.

“It was great to have students working on this innovative project for us, helping in defining the new business models and, above all, bringing their enthusiasm, knowledge, creative thinking, new-idea generation, and engagement.”

Hackathon winners
Winning teams were recognized for the quality of their ideas, generated over the course of an intensive 9-hour day.

The students found the event challenging, insightful, and rewarding too, with comments like: “loved the pressure and excitement of the Hackathon,” and “it was thrilling to understand the process that large corporations engage in to create a lifestyle brand.” 

“It was great to have students working on this innovative project for us, bringing their enthusiasm, knowledge, creative thinking, and engagement.”

Liliana Caimacan, Unilever Marketing Strategy Director, Europe

Based on the success of this event, Hackathons will definitely become a regular feature of our undergraduate curriculum.


To find out more about Hult’s Bachelor of Business Administration program and how challenge learning is built into your degree, download a brochure.

Like game changers? Break the mould in the business world with a Masters in Disruptive Innovation from Hult. To learn more, take a look at our blog Week of Disruption, Fall 2018: Embracing a changing world, around the globe, or explore overall business challenges with a Masters in International Business instead. Download a brochure or get in touch today to find out how Hult can help you to find out everything about the business world, the future, and yourself.