Students Developing a Better Future

One of the things I care most deeply about is education, ensuring that the next generation has the opportunities they need to help build a better tomorrow.  This is why I personally invest time in support of the Imagine Cup, which brings together students from all over the world to apply their learning, their skills, their inspirations, and their passions to the world’s toughest problems.

In the 10 years the Imagine Cup has been running, millions of students from hundreds of countries have participated, using technology to help fix the environment, eradicate diseases, address world hunger, improve gender equality, ensure people everywhere have access to education and healthcare, and more.  The goals are lofty, but more impressive than the goals themselves are the solutions these students devise to achieve them.

This year, the 10th worldwide finals are being held in Australia in July, with 372 students from 106 teams across 75 countries competing.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in the program for all 10 years, and you can participate as well, from the comfort of your own office or home.  Over 60 of these teams have submitted videos to the People’s Choice Award competition, where you get to vote for your favorite team and solution. These votes will determine which team gets the $10,000 prize.

I urge anyone reading this blog post to go to the People’s Choice Award site, view the videos, and vote.  If the humanitarian nature of the projects alone is not enough to garner your interest, you might be interested from a technological perspective, as well: many of these projects are just plain cool, making use of all manner of Microsoft technology.  Across all of the finalists worldwide, 20% of all of the projects involve Windows 8 and Metro style apps.  Almost 50% of all of the finalists are using Windows Azure.  Almost 70% of the education-related projects are using Kinect for natural user interfaces.  And more than 60% of the finalists have created solutions for Windows Phone 7.

Note that if you’re a student, through DreamSpark you can get Visual Studio, SQL Server, and other software and training for free to help you build similar solutions.  Simply create an account, verify your student status, and you’re off and developing.

I’m both excited and humbled by what these minds have been able to achieve.  I’ve no doubt you will be, too.


Comments (9)

  1. Nair S says:

    Hi Somasegar,

    Microsoft helped to shape my professional life and was able to make to Redmond recently. So let me share my points with all respect to Microsoft. 106 teams across 75 countries does revels that this particular program is accessible or abstracted roughly to 1 or 2 schools from each country. These numbers are evident enough to identify the reach of this particular program. Nonetheless, I personally think this has nothing to do with Microsoft rather to do with our educational system in country like India and its suburbs. Therefore, according to me reach plays a major role in success.

    Eg: I personally think Office suite is the most successful product from Microsoft. Microsoft was able to gain this success because they exceptionally succeeded to introduce and educate Office to people, and proved on how Office products can ease their life. This is what I mean by reach.

    With my limited knowledge, I assume two benefits form such initiative. a) Introduce real world problem and encourage solving the same. b) Extend the reach and educate about Microsoft products and technological direction to young who shape the future. I see these agendas positively, but concern is only in its reach.

    Where do you see Microsoft contributing to any radical change for such growing countries which helps kids from privileged and underprivileged face of life can equally learn the beats of technological world and act as a catalyst for future?

    In closing, I appreciate your effort and Microsoft as an organization.

    – Sreejith Nair

  2. Ashwin Karuhatty says:

    Hi Sreejith

    Thanks for your comments and appreciate passion on enabling students to use technology in meaningful ways. I wanted to introduce myself – I work for Microsoft and am the WW Lead for Imagine Cup. When we started Imagine Cup 10 years ago, the intention was to enable every student (16+ years) around the world to participate and use technology to solve real world problems. Over 10 years, we have more than 1.65 million students who have registered to participate. The numbers you see in this blog post is just the WW Finalists – these are student teams who have won the Local Finals in their countries and are selected to come to the WW Final in Sydney. You can learn more about the competition and its format at



  3. Nair S says:

    Hi Ashwin,

    Thank you for your time and effort. I use to work with local private schools to give primary computer literacy for kids. I was always amazed to see how they approach technology. They start with fear; walk with questions, and with aspiration.


    Sreejith Nair

  4. Tom says:

    "I’m both excited and humbled by what these minds have been able to achieve.  I’ve no doubt you will be, too."

    Trying using Visual Studio or just about any Microsoft product for something more then a GU demo and I gaurantee you have a different experience more like frustrated and disappointed.

  5. Omid says:

    Im 21.

    I creating a new GUI for MS Windows, and now, I'm making an All In One computer at home.

    I want to get hired at Microsoft

    Last year, GITEX exhibition, I was hired to fill the form, by one of the companies representative of Microsoft.

    This year is also thought to Dubai you up, so I could make my own resume to represent Microsoft offer to buy to get hired.

    If you can be my referral, A way of communication with yourself to show me, I live in Iran.

    (A comment here)

  6. @Omid: Thanks for your interest.  A good place to get started with finding a job at Microsoft is via the Microsoft Careers site at  There you can search for positions that might be of interest to you and apply for them.

  7. ThomasX says:

    Glad to hear that you care most deeply about education. But how about your UI-designers?

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