OREANDA-NEWS. December 17, 2013. "The Contest provides a platform for young students, like me, to understand financial business and practice what I have learnt. I will definitely be the first one to sign up given another contest like this", said Xiaoqi, a third-year student of University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) recalling last year's "ICBC Cup" Nationwide University Students Banking Products Design Contest.

Xiaoqi said he learned a lot during more than 100 days and nights of preparation for the Contest. By joining the Contest, Xiaoqi felt the hunger of financial institutions to seek innovative financial products, and the hardship in creating frontier financial products. It provided a real experience compared to what has been learnt in the classroom.

The finals of The Fourth "ICBC Cup" Nationwide University Students Banking Products Design Contest were drawn to a close in Beijing on Nov 29. Awardees for Excellent Work Award, Excellent Organization Award, Excellent Teacher Award were announced at the Contest's website (innovation.uibe.edu.cn).

Compared with previous years, this year's Contest saw wider coverage of universities, more diversified forms of activity, more active participation from students, and greater social impact. The Contest is a new approach for banks and universities working together to nurture talents with high innovation skill, introducing a new concept of gathering social force and wisdom for innovation of banking products, said industry insiders. The Contest also provides a new platform for university students to showcase their talent and fulfill their social value. The contest attracted participation from students across the country. The organizing committee received about 1000 entries from 420 universities in China and overseas. By combining theory with practice, the contestants designed financial products to meet existing and future needs, providing strong reference for product innovation and service improvement.

The organizing committee chose the best design from the entries on "Open, Fair, Just" basis. The assessment methodology was based on four criteria including innovation range, innovation value, completeness and feasibility. 30 entries were matched with the awards after a rigorous screening process. The entries covered bank card, e-commerce, e-payment, small loan, wealth management, trust and electronic banking. Among these winning entries, some were originated from everyday life, some were closely tied to emerging technology, some were at the forefront of technology, all demonstrating the strong personality and creativity of candidates and reflecting their interest in national economy and people's livelihood as well as their sense of responsibility to serve the society and the people with what they have learned.

Based on previous success, this year's competition improved rules and enriched  activities. Firstly, ccontestants were grouped into six provincial areas like Shanghai. In each area, ICBC and local universities set up organizing committee in charge of promotion, screening of entries, referral and award presentation to increase regional impact and expand the depth and breadth of university participation. Secondly ,to increase the attractiveness and transparency of the Contest, contestants were asked to do on-site demonstration, idea defense and talent show at the finals. Thirdly, besides product design, the competition was added in buying/selling precious metals in  simulated environment, where students may better combine knowledge with practice.

As the commercial bank offering the widest range of financial products in China today, ICBC adheres to product innovation as a key measure to strengthen customer satisfaction, market competitiveness and sustainable growth. In addition to independent research and development, ICBC has seen universities as a new approach in recent years to enhance innovation on financial products. Speaking of the rationale behind the Contest, an ICBC official said university students are creative quick-learners with entrepreneurial spirit, and they are willing to serve the society and display their talent. In addition to education and research work, famous universities in China such as UIBE, Tsinghua University and Peking University put emphasis on the theory-and-practice based approach to produce young talents. The new simulated precious metals trading competition in this year's "ICBC Cup" Nationwide University Students Banking Products Design Contest jointly organized with UIBE is not only in line with the philosophy of top universities, but also provides a platform for university students in China to display their talent and an opportunity to design financial products with their knowledge, helping fulfill their creativity and potentials. The Contest underscores ICBC's open innovation and UIBE's open-minded education philosophy.

Student representatives said, the Contest is playing an increasingly important role in talent development by providing bank-college cooperation and a platform for students’ social practice. The Contest is ideologically compatible with universities in China  focusing more on practice and open-minded education, helping university students fulfill their creativity, potentials and contribution to society.