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Friday, September 30, 2011

MIT LGO’s to Apply Engineering Operations & Business Skills to Cloud Computing at Haas Tech Challenge

An MIT Sloan team headed to the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, today to participate in the Haas Tech Challenge. The prestigious high-tech case competition will take place Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

MIT Sloan will be represented by three MIT Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) students from the Class of 2013: Michael Joyce, Joshua Przybylko and Sophia Scipio. Prahar Shah, Sloan '12, rounds out the talented team.

The case will focus on a hot topic: "Business Models and Challenges in Cloud Computing." VMware, Amazon Web Services and salesforce.com are sponsoring the event along with the Haas School of Business.

In addition to the competition, participants will have the opportunity to network with others who share an interest in the high-tech industry. "The main reasons we're doing this are to get practical experience in participating in this type of competition and to have a lot of fun," said Przybylko. "I'm sure we'll get a lot out of it and represent MIT well."

Up Against Stiff Competition

MIT Sloan's competition will include students from Haas, Booth, Wharton, Ross, Kellogg, Anderson and Stanford business schools. Teams have received minimal details about the case in advance, other than that it will concern cloud computing in general and platform as a service (PaaS) in particular.

Przybylko and his teammates have spent the past few weeks researching cloud computing while also addressing their usual class loads.

"It's been a massively hectic period," he said. "We've been looking at various companies competing in this space, several of whom are sponsoring the competition. We've also been looking at new developments in cloud computing and reaching out to contacts in the industry for their perspectives."

In their application for the competition, Przybylko, Joyce and Scipio noted that their dual business/engineering background allows them to understand both the "commercial opportunities and challenges of cloud computing business models" and the "engineering and operations challenges." Przybylko feels this distinction will give their team a competitive advantage.

"Many of the challenges these companies are facing in deploying cloud solutions are operational in nature," he said. "For example: What is the correct infrastructure that must be put in place to make cloud computing a reality? How can the technology be viable?"

Meet the Team Members

Here's a quick look at the MIT Sloan team:

Michael Joyce brings five years of experience split between information technology in the pharmaceutical sector and supply chain management of semiconductors. He has a particular interest in the operational challenges of deploying cloud solutions and has participated in past.

Josh Przybylko worked for five years in management consulting and also has experience in the information and communications sector. Prior to starting the LGO program, he was a senior strategy specialist with the corporate strategy team at Telstra, Australia largest communications operator.

Sophia Scipio has five years of experience in the design of cellular phones and mobile Internet devices with Motorola and RIM (Blackberry). She is passionate about the potential of cloud computing to transform the mobile industry and believes her design background will help the team identify new market opportunities for the technology.

Prahar Shah has experience in management consulting and venture capital along with an interest in technology and entrepreneurship. The president of the Sloan Technology Club, he spent the summer as a new business development intern at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Best of luck to the MIT Sloan team this weekend!

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