Youngest Members of School of Design Win Microsoft Firenze


The School of Design wants to congratulate Harsh Gupta, Nick Zukoski, Max Brown, and Zhuoshi Xie, finalists in Microsoft’s Firenze BXT (Business, Experience, Technology) competition this spring.

This team is unique because three of their four members are undergrads. They are the first mostly undergrad team to make it to the finals in the history of the competition.

For the contest, Microsoft invited three schools, Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State University, and Cornell, to work in multidisciplinary teams to innovate around a prompt.

Microsoft encouraged students to:
• Come up with a new, broadly conceived product
• Think like a start up
• Have a realistic 5-10 year business plan

As finalists, the winners from CMU were flown to Redmond, Washington where they were split up into teams mixed with winners from OSU and Cornell.

These mixed-school teams were then given another prompt and less than 24 hours to innovate and present a new product.

The prompt lent itself to developing personas to define the problem space, a method that is taught in our curriculum, and that Max Brown's team was able to leverage for this challenge.

Max's team won the final competition, and CMU made a great impression on Microsoft.

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