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What is a Reply Challenge?
Superficially, the Reply Challenges may appear to be nothing more than competitions involving Reply students or employees. Actually, it is a much more complex project in which each party makes an effort and receives something in return. The competitions in which the students participate have the objective of introducing Reply to students and bringing them closer to the world of work. Freed from school judgment, the participants challenge each other by realizing a concrete project, as close as possible to a real case, and learn how to work in a team and get involved with students from other universities.
What do they earn at the end of the day?
At the end of these challenges, participants take home the growth from having put themselves out there, and for everyone, the message that goes out is “you had fun putting yourself to the test, we at Reply work on these things, are you interested?”.
The winners – in addition to personal satisfaction – receive a prize for their effort, which can be a new PC or something else, also in agreement with the university itself. Similarly, Reply employees (respondents) also take part in these challenges in an internal competition, in which they can participate alone or in groups. Material prizes may be up for grabs, but in some cases the projects realized become real business initiatives to be implemented within Reply. The feasibility of the project becomes even more central because the winners then find themselves working in the field to realize the project.
Who designs the challenges for the participants?
The most intriguing part of this competition is its hidden mechanism, the perfect system behind it all. The company, being an IT and technology consultancy, has experts in various areas like coding, investment, and cybersecurity. They've formed teams responsible for creating challenges. Replyers can join these teams, each specializing in a specific theme: Code Masters for the Code Challenge, Keen Minds for Cybersecurity, and more. Surprisingly, the challenge creators are replyers themselves.
But why do they do it? And how?
Crafting these challenges takes several months, like a complete client project. However, they do it in addition to their regular workload. It's an impressive amount of work: conceiving, designing, testing, and making the challenges difficult yet not impossible. They should be long enough to assess participants and their teamwork. Challenges that seem tough to participants are even more challenging to create, showing the creators' dedication. Such effort might deter some team members, risking project completion. To address this, a solution was needed to shorten project timelines and motivate participants, making the experience feel indispensable instead of burdensome.
Finding the perfect location.
The choice of location and leisure activities played a central role, creating a unique atmosphere and fostering a sense of camaraderie among participants. The demand for these events was so high after the COVID-19 pandemic that locations were quickly filled as participants eagerly returned to in-person group activities. Despite not spending the entire hackathon working on the project, the format proved highly efficient. Being able to collaborate in a pleasant setting and interact face-to-face paid off significantly. Moreover, the hackathons served as excellent team-building opportunities and helped attract new members interested in joining the team, as they experienced an enjoyable weekend and were encouraged to continue their involvement throughout the year.
How would you summarize Reply Challenges?
Nothing is done for nothing, at all levels. Those who design the competitions, which are really a lot of work, spend weekends with each other and are given the opportunity to educate themselves through the berries they receive. Students who participate in the competitions have the chance to win prizes and test themselves in stimulating challenges that are different from the usual university format, getting to know Reply better and learning that if they want to they know whom to ask for an interview. Participating employees not only challenge each other to win prizes but also generate new ideas and projects that can become an integral part of their work to improve the place where they work.
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