Best Challenge

Welcome to the BEST Challenge! This unique campus competition brings together teams of UW-Madison Business and English majors to tackle a real-world organizational problem and craft a viable solution. As a student participant, you and your teammates will engage in an integrative problem-solving experience similar to workplace situations you will encounter as you begin your career.

What’s the schedule?

Thursday, February 15, 5:15 – 7:15 PM – Launch Party and Dinner where teams will be formed and details of the competition will be discussed. (5120 Grainger Hall)

Tuesday, March 6, 11:59 PM – All submissions are due (team slide decks + individual 2-page reflections).

Thursday, March 8, 5:15 – 7:15 PM – Team presentations and winners announced. (5120 Grainger Hall)

What is the 2018 Challenge?

Using data to inform your proposal, identify and define a point(s) of intervention and a specific plan to improve UW-Madison’s chance of winning the Big 10 Voting Challenge.

“UW-Madison is joining the other Big Ten institutions in a new competition to promote civic engagement: the Big Ten Voting Challenge. The Big Ten Voting Challenge will help to mobilize registration and turnout efforts at all 14 Big Ten universities. The challenge begins Sunday September 17, 2017 and runs through November 6, 2018.  One of the most important values we teach at our universities is the importance of civic engagement. Voting in elections gives students a voice in the democratic process and in the decisions that affect local, state, and national issues. The Big Ten Voting Challenge is a nonpartisan initiative to encourage students to exercise their right to vote, which is among the most fundamental opportunities to be an active and engaged citizen.  Trophies will be awarded to the university with the highest eligible voter turnout rate, and the school with the most improved voter turnout (relative to its 2014 data).”  (excerpted from Morgridge Center website)

How can I participate?

  1. Form a team with at least one Business and English major each, for a maximum of four members. Don’t have a team? Find teammates here.
  2. Attend the Launch Party (February 15) to form your team and learn more about this year’s Challenge. Only teams with at least one member present at the Launch Party are considered signed up for the challenge.
  3. Work with your teammates to develop your proposal to address:
    • What is your proposed solution to the challenge (describe your product, service or event)?
    • Specifically, how does your proposed solution help UW-Madison win the Big 10 Voting Challenge?
    • What are the challenges or obstacles that limit civic engagement among your intended audience?
    • How does your proposed solution address these challenges?
    • How feasible is your proposal and what evidence do you have that your proposed solution could credibly be put into practice?
    • Be prepared to answer questions from the judges about the process by which you developed your proposal, how you evaluated your evidence, and what unanswered questions you would want to investigate if you were to go further in developing your solution to the challenge.
  4. Write your 2-page individual reflection to include specific examples of:
    • What was your most important contribution to the team?
    • What was one important thing you learned from your teammate(s)?
    • How did you invoke different skills and abilities as your team worked together?
    • What unexpected barrier(s) arose during the Challenge and how did you cope?
    • What about the way your team worked together helped you create your proposal?
    • What would you do differently next time?

Where can we go for help?

As you and your teammates work on the BEST Challenge, you may run into unexpected challenges. Don’t give up! At any time during this project, we encourage you to seek support from one or more of the following campus resources:

Sunny Chan, Career and Internship Coordinator
English Department

Chris Dakes, Director of Educational Innovations and Learning Design
Wisconsin School of Business
4305 Grainger Hall

Megan Miller, Assistant Director of Civic Engagement
Morgridge Center for Public Service
Red Gym, Suite 154

Vote Everywhere Ambassadors
Morgridge Center for Public Service

Maribeth Witzel-Behl, City of Madison Clerk’s Office


Paul Malischke
League of Women Voters

UW DesignLab 

Make an appointment or go to drop-in hours at the DesignLab. DesignLab is a digital media design consultancy service for students at UW-Madison, located in College Library. Through one-on-one or small group consultations, we help students work effectively in digital media. We focus on the conceptual, aesthetic, and overall design of media projects for class assignments, student organizations, and independent projects.

The Writing Center 

The Writing Center, located in 6171 Helen C. White Hall, offers assistance at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to last touches. Participants should feel free to make an appointment to meet with a Writing Center tutor and talk through their pitch or reflection. Call (608-263-1992) or stop by to make appointments at the main Center, or stop in to one of the many satellite locations across campus for first-come, first-serve appointments.

  1. The BEST Challenge is open to teams of 2-4 people consisting of UW-Madison undergraduate students with a declared major in either Business or English. Teams must include at least one Business and at least one English student.
  2. All ideas and presentations for the BEST Challenge should be suitable for public display or publication. Any entries that appear to promote the use of alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, or anything else in poor taste may be disqualified.  In a nutshell, use good judgment.
  3. All work must be entirely the work of the team and should not contain any plagiarized material.
  4. A panel of judges, drawn from UW-Madison staff and members of the greater Madison community, will judge the submissions and their decisions are final.
  5. By participating in the BEST Challenge, the entrant grants the organizers permission to release his or her name, photograph, voice, likeness and/or biographical information in the promotion or publicity of this event.
  6. Winners of the BEST Challenge are solely responsible for any taxes on the prize money. The team prize will be apportioned equally among team members. The winning team will receive an additional $500 to be donated to an academic unit(s). It is up to the team members to agree on a single academic unit to receive this donation or divide it among different units as they wish.


Are you an English or Business major looking for real-world project experience that you can put on your résumé, a fantastic networking opportunity, and a chance to win CASH PRIZES? Then the BEST Challenge is for you.


This unique campus competition brings together teams of UW-Madison Business and English majors to tackle a real organizational problem and create a viable solution. As a student participant, you and your teammates will engage in a hands-on problem-solving experience similar to workplace situations you will encounter in your future careers.

The BEST Challenge consists of two deliverables:

  • A pitch by your team to a panel of judges, proposing a solution to this year’s Challenge. Prize: $2,000 for the winning team, and an additional $500 to donate to UW-Madison academic unit(s) of their choice.
  • A 2-page individual reflection on your team’s evolution and your own performance within the team. Prize: $200 “Personal BEST” award for the individual participant with the strongest reflection paper.
  • NOTE: For more detailed information on the 2018 BEST Challenge, see BEST Challenge Info Session.


  1. Gain practical real-world experience!
  2. Practice highly in-demand teamwork skills and multidisciplinary skills!
  3. Network with campus and community business leaders!
  4. Earn a certificate of participation!
  5. Win prize money!!!

Keep an eye out for future challenges!

Read more about winning BEST Challenge projects and the students who emerged victorious!

BEST 2018: #BallotsOnBascom: Lucy Woolson (B.A. ’18), Isaac Rudin (B.B.A. ’19), and Vivian Broderick (B.B.A ’21)

BEST 2017: Remainder Round Up: Chris Houben (B.A. ’17)  and Evan Warwick (B.B.A. ’18)

BEST 2016: WIidea: Elizabeth Kinsella (B.A. ’16), Alec Prueter (B.B.A. ’16), and Louisa Frye (B.B.A. ’17)