Monash Racing Team Student Engagement and Education
At the driverless vehicle summit held in Sydney there was a demonstration from students from Monash University that might be a cute exercise for those who are interested in motor racing. It turns out, however, that it is a comprehensive exercise that prepares students for working in teams, with other disciplines and with business. And it has students making a commitment in their effort that many other faculties could only dream about.
The basic elements are
· Monash has a wide range of teams participating in major projects
· Teams can have 120 or more students involved from many different disciplines
· The Racing teams participate in a longstanding worldwide competition between universities.
· It is a full racing team that races on circuits around the world
· Up to 40 students may go overseas with the team to compete
· Initially it was petrol cars and then it became electric vehicles and now it is autonomous vehicles.
· Monash was ranked number one with their petrol car against many older and larger universities.
Marc Pizzi is the Industry portfolio manager at Monash University.
In part, Marc spoke about how the university tries very, very hard to use a range of projects and their laboratories to intertwine opportunities for the students to get a touchpoint with industry during their studies.
Marc thinks that the main benefit overall for student teams is not technology. He says:
“There's lots of smart kids. This is a platform to have an interface to the real-world business, talking to people who don't want to listen. Managing stakeholders is like herding chickens. And our kids are fantastic. They get immersed in that. And so, they get to understand that having “smarts” is a small part of being successful. Working with people and managing relationships and finding a win/win result is more of a critical thing for business life.