RightAnswers Organizes Chatbot Development Challenge

I am still on a high after the Presentation and Awards Reception of the recent RightAnswers@Monmouth University Customer Service Chatbot Competition, where teams of MBAs and Computer Science students teamed up to develop a customer service chatbot.

RightAnswers organized the competition as a way of giving back to the local community by providing students with hands-on business experience. Not only did they have to develop working chatbot software, but they also had to solve an actual business case.

The participants had to reach out of their comfort zones to team up with students from other academic disciplines to solve a real-world problem. We kicked off the competition in early December, when teams began to form. And during the last six weeks, our Product Management, Software Development and executive teams mentored the students through both their business cases and their development.

At the Presentation and Awards Reception, the teams presented their business ideas and demonstrated the virtual conversational agent technology that they developed. A panel of RightAnswers business and technical executives judged the entries on their business analysis, solving an actual need, execution, presentation, receptiveness to coaching and team dynamics – all important aspects of being successful in the business world.

The winning team developed a chatbot that fielded questions about university admissions, aimed at prospective college students and their parents. Other entries answered questions for outdoor enthusiasts and campers, and another provided recipes based on special health and dietary needs.

For me, a few things really stood out at the event. The first was the quality of the work – not only the chatbots themselves, but also the teams’ business case development, research and analysis, and creativity in presenting to the audience. One would expect the business students to be somewhat accustomed to presenting, but the computer science students presented and demonstrated their work with tremendous confidence. They all did an outstanding job. And the Monmouth University faculty involved in the event appreciated the leadership role we took in jumpstarting their students’ careers.

We worked with the Monmouth University production department, who recorded a video of the entire event. We hope to have that available soon. Read the write-up in a local newspaper that covered the event, and the blog of another news outlet.

It always feels great to give back and we’re thrilled to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. We hope to run similar technology events in the future.

Author: Jeff Weinstein

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