Three South African students who were shortlisted to take part in British American Tobacco’s global internship competition called the Battle of the Minds have seen off challengers from around the world to take second place overall.

The three finalists’ business proposals were shortlisted from thousands of submissions from over 40 countries.

After a rigorous selection programme, Asante Nxumalo, Bulumko Napakade, and Keeno Koopman proved their mettle and proudly represented South Africa on the global stage in London.

The competition started off with more than 35 million students reached and 3 500 applicants who made submissions from 40 countries.

BATSA CEO Soraya Benchikh is extremely proud that the trio represented South Africa so strongly: “This is an excellent achievement by the South African team. We are looking forward to welcoming them back and kickstarting their careers through an internship at BAT. BAT South Africa thrives on empowering young minds and helping them reach their full potential.”

The trio, who are all Business Science Students at the University of Cape Town, will take up an internship at BAT as part of the prize. Their achievement has paved the way towards a ground-breaking international career with one of the world’s 2018 Top Employers.

Leslie Rance, Area Head of Human Resources, said the trio’s second place was an outstanding achievement. “We are exceptionally proud of this team’s phenomenal success. Their strong teamwork, compelling business plan and great attitude showed off their personal skills and what South African talent has to offer the world. These are not only possible future leaders of our business, but of the country as well and we look forward to them being interns at our company.”

Team SA chose as their challenge; “Play to Learn”, seeking ways to make the multibillion dollar gaming industry both profitable and beneficial.

Their brief was to develop an educational game that was modern, exciting, and helps people learn without realising it.

Recognising the ever-growing demand for computer programming and coding skills due to their application in an array of industries, they came up with an educational game called “Disruption” – an innovative way to teach students Python-based coding, aiming to assist universities and other educational institutions in delivering what is fast becoming a critical skill in modern industries.

Disruption is an Immersive Open world Turn Based RPG set in a technologically advanced future where artificial intelligence, fintech and cryptocurrency have reached critical mass and have been implemented in both daily life and in most major industries. With each of these milestones in technological development, there are increasing societal problems to overcome and evils to confront.

The user plays as a first-year student joining a league of vigilante programmers who aim to tackle these issues. Armed with a rooted and upgraded smartphone that allows you to interact with the technological world you aim to climb the ranks of “the disruptors” (a league of vigilante hackers).


Issued by Corporate Image on behalf of British American Tobacco SA