Online Competitions: A gamble or a gain? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 26, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:55 PM, November 29, 2020

Online Competitions: A gamble or a gain?

Is spending your time, effort and money on online competitions worth it? Today we find the answer.

Online competitions have recently gained uber-popularity and what sets them apart from offline tournaments, is the convenience and accessibility. Online competitions save you from the hassle of transportation. Coupled with the extreme time efficiency, online contests pave a way to getting used to remote working, which in this era, is the redefined future of work. Having said that, you miss out on the great opportunity of connecting with other brilliant minds that offline competitions have to offer.

Faria Hossain, an undergraduate student at Islamic University of Technology, shares her experience saying, "Online competitions can feel a little out of touch for me since it doesn't really provide a scope for networking." She further mentions how it helps her to get a taste of working in other sectors beyond her major which she would normally not opt for.

Like everything else in this world, competitions don't come cheap. Most of the competitions that you will participate in comes with a hefty registration fee. Now offline competitions may seem worth the money since it involves physical participation and service but this invites the obvious question, are we getting the best bang for our buck in the online ones?

To address this issue we sought the insight of Ifty Mahmud, Director of Finance and Marketing, Robotics Club of BRAC University. "Organising big events takes a lot of planning and effort. The prize money that we keep in the competitions come from the money we collect from the registration fees. Almost all if not more money goes into promotions, boosting and hosting. Although it might look like you're paying for a single contest, there is a bigger picture."  Moreover, registration fees prevent spam entries. "It filters out potential contestants," he adds.

Sponsorships are a big part of competitions as well. Not only do sponsorships help ease the financial burden, they also assist in gaining credibility and trust.

Khan Sharab Anan, Senior Executive Officer of Young Economists' Forum of North South University, comments, "It's a two-way street actually, we are trying to bring the best to the people and sponsors help us achieve that." The free entry contests are possible because of sponsorships.

Idea contests are a broad spectrum, from hackathons to case solving competitions, they really open up one's problem solving skills. Student competitions are a great way to squeeze out fresh ideas for brands and companies. Although a symbol of capitalism in today's market, these competitions are relevant and more integrated to normal life.

Adib Arnob, a seasoned competitor from Bangladesh University of Professionals, remarks, "I find competitions interesting. Honestly, I find them more interactive than regular studies. The exploitation of ideas isn't ideal but it's kind of like paid internships. At least you're learning something!" Not everything is textbook learning, we learn along the way. Thinking out of the box by applying the knowledge we gain along the way gives learning purpose.

If you're still wondering what the point of investing in a competition is when it is not even certain that you will get something for the effort, think again!

Farnaz Fawad Hasan reads product labels when she's bored. Reach her at farnazfawadhasan@gmail.com

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