2020 had more than one reason to make people around the globe pessimistic about the present and the future. But University of Stirling, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE had in store one small leap, not just for their students but for students from India, Bangladesh and UK, to change their perspective and groom them into becoming much sought-after individuals in the future.

One of the 10 best universities in UAE, Stirling University had planned to hold an on-campus event but the Covid-19 global pandemic wrapped almost everything in dismissal. This massive event went on to a virtual platform and became an online event. But student’s zest in implementing the said event helped the University reiterate its tag line – ‘Be the Difference’.

Last year the University held two major events – ‘Spotlight 2020’ which had three different activities and ‘Techstars’ Global Weekend Start-Up which was a gruelling 54 marathon hours for the students who were confined to home limits in solitude in the wake of the current scourge.

It was heart-warming to see our students accomplish extra-ordinary results but it was even more satisfying to see students who are intellectually dexterous in handling a marathon with the same zest, whether on campus or on the virtual platform.

Spotlight 2020 had to be reconstructed on a virtual platform making it achieve a photo-finish event. The team experienced enough hurdles right from creating virtual halls to successfully hosting the entire event. But with an inventive zest and energy, it culminated into a grand success in June last year. 

Students pursuing their studies in business management, business computing, finance and computer science participated in the three categories of Spotlight – Arbitrage, Pitch Perfect and Tech Zest. Students enjoyed every bit of the process – listening to every single participant, learning new things and sharing each other’s knowledge, thanks to the diversity of students from different countries. The idea behind bringing students from different universities was to help them share innovative ideas that would help them improve in their academics.

Beena Maria Varughese from Birla Institute of Technologies, RAK campus and Priyanka Awatramani from Middlesex University, UAE became the young star performers in the first category – Trading contracts for differences (CFD), Arbitrage. These girls worked on a relatively difficult topic where financial instruments had to be speculated in financial markets while ensuring that the person seeks advantage of price differentials in different trading markets.

The second category had Savrang Jain from Loyola College, Chennai, India and Erin Sara Thomas from Middlesex University, UAE as top performers. This category called Pitch Perfect – Social Fintech Business Idea (SFBI) was a forum where students could pitch relevant fintech business ideas by combining knowledge and ideas from fields of finance, technology and business and students were expected to come up with innovative ideas keeping in mind the relevance of recent Covid-19 pandemic. Definitely the idea then had to be a sustainable, low-cost model which would have the potential of mobilizing domestic savings. 

The third and last category was Tech Zest which amplified how technology touches our daily lives. Seema Neloufar, Heba Fatime and Gayatri Anushka, all from Birla Institute of Technologies, RAK, UAE came out as runners up in this category where students had to showcase the technological strides that mankind has made in recent times. The emphasis was to encourage and inspire young undergraduate students to inculcate research-oriented thinking and approach to this field of technology. 

University of Stirling is rated one of top five Universities in UK for its degree, bachelors and masters’ courses in engineering, accounting and computer science.

University of Stirling had also organised Techstars Global Weekend Start-Up, a gruelling 54 marathon hours for its students who were confined to home limits in solitude in wake of the current scourge called Covid-19. The workshop was aimed at making students propose, incubate, develop and simulate a real-life innovative business start-up idea and later present the final product, which was a viable business proposition to the panel of judges. The project held immense relevance during the current times where the pandemic had done incalculable harm to mankind on all fronts. It not just made us question our existence on this planet but also destroyed the economic and financial infrastructure across the world.

Our Techstars Startup Weekend Community has always been a wonderful source of innovation and inspiration for our students who are our prospective entrepreneurs. It fosters abilities to create new business opportunities not just for themselves but for other aspiring entrepreneurs as well. Nearly 13 students participated in this 54-hours long workshop where they sought mentor assistance in fields – finance, marketing, data analysis, organisation and industry and entrepreneurship. Immense perseverance, dedication and attention to detail was exhibited in the greatest time constraint.

Students, all in their undergraduate programmes, paid attention to every minute detail, used innovative streak of mind, created and sewed concepts, skill sets, strategic and tactical level viabilities in relevance to the recent Covid-19 situation and presented business ideas which would make use of apps with leanings and applications to the prevailing circumstances.

University’s culture and pedagogy has always given impetus to independent and innovative thinking woven with critical qualitative and quantitative flavour towards situation assessments. This salient feature helps us in keeping our students in good stead. It was an erudite pleasure to have one of the teams make it to the top five amidst fierce competition.

While the world is busy battling the pandemic, our students are getting work-ready for a better tomorrow.