For the past 4 years students from around the world have tackled real life challenges in the health and hygiene product industry and joined in our mission to improve health and well-being around the world. The University Challenge has greatly evolved over time. Our first year, in 2013/14, was centred around the Volvo Ocean Race and was directed towards engineering students. In the following years, the University Challenge moved from being only for engineering students in 2013 to a worldwide challenge. Today, the Challenge is designed for engineering and marketing students from 18 universities in 12 countries, with online support and platforms  and industry expert mentors from all over the world. 

In 2016/17 the University Challenge went digital, attracting interest from over 2,200 students. The new digital contest platform enabled students to chat, upload files, ask questions and meet on-line with mentors from Essity to discuss their projects and ideas. “The Challenge has been on a long journey since its beginning in 2013. It’s much broader in scope and growing year after year. It’s not just about the submission and contest but  rather being part of a career experience and journey.  We want our contestants to interact with Essity and to provide the opportunity for younger talents to build networks and experience for the future” Flora Foldi, Project Manager Employer Attractiveness  

The dedicated mentors for each team are spread across geographies and different areas of expertise. The mentoring aspect of the University Challenge, introduced in 2014/15, has been greeted with universal approval from students and universities alike. The University Challenge is not just a competition but a chance to give students a glimpse into working life at Essity. Through their mentors the  teams get the opportunity to network in their chosen field, see what a career at Essity looks like and experience the kind of challenges Essity employees face. “The University Challenge has allowed us to strengthen our relationships with our partner universities and provide an interactive way for younger professionals to engage with the business in a very impactful way” Astrid Manquin  MOD Director HR Operational Development , Global & Employer Attractiveness.

Over the course of the past 5 years we have challenged students to find ways to break through the noise and engage with consumers, to develop a long-term marketing campaign using new and exciting technologies, to help dispel taboos around menstruation across all geographies and cultures and to make the “toilet paper of the future”. We want to continue to foster the strong relationship with our partner universities and students. “The University Challenge has such an international aspect. The scope of the Challenge really gives the contestants an inside look and feel of working life at an international company, and the challenges and rewards that it can present” Flora Foldi.   

Each year the winning teams take part in a recognition ceremony where they will receive an award and meet members of the local senior team and some of the mentors. The winners will also be offered a company internship at Essity. 

This year’s Universitys Challenge, the Hafa Challenge, focuses on innovation in the hankies and facials sector. Find out more on the Hafa University Challenge website