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Aiming to innovate and break with the traditional human resources professionals selection methods, KOT searched for alternatives which would indeed guarantee suitable new hires. The result was the creation of the “KOT BUILD UP” competition which compels students to actively apply the knowledge acquired at university. 

Fully implemented twice (2018 and 2019) the event has proved to be very successful, however, unfortunately, it had to be suspended in the following years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the competition revolves around the registrations of teams, composed of 2 to 3 people, who work together to plan and build a structure which follows the technical requirements of the proposal provided by KOT. All participants are required to be enrolled in undergraduate level engineering courses, regardless of the university. 

On its first edition, the students were asked to build a tower using only popsicle sticks and adhesive material, also considering the need for the structure to withhold the heaviest load amongst the competitors. In the second edition, the structure was expected to be built using a wider variety of materials (popsicle and wooden sticks, yarn, etc.) with a combined maximum weight of 500 grams – disregarding the counterweight, and respecting the configuration illustrated in figure 1. All the rules and requirements were explained to the students in the call presented before their enrollment on the competition.

Figure 1: Prototype dimensional restrictions [1]. 

KOT BUILD UP attempts to simulate the environment in which calculating engineers will be inserted in their day to day work in order to evaluate their fundamental technical competencies, essential for the development of their work. Thus, the process is divided into 2 distinct phases, the first related to the project’s conception, done remotely, and the second on the presentation and prototype, done in person. 

  • Phase one: 

Each time is expected to present their prototype in a technical report containing the calculations which justify the options chosen. At this stage several knowledge-related considerations are evaluated: material sciences and resistance, technical writing and project development. The responsible selection commission analyzes each report and assesses it according to the predefined criteria. The teams with the highest scores are moved to the next phase and are then presented with the material required for the prototype.

  • Phase two:

In this stage the team are given 10 minutes to present their project, explaining the technical premises adopted for the development of the structure. Following that, the structural tests take place, adding the added weight on to the structure progressively until some sort of flaw is identified, such as, the collapse of one of the components or of the whole structure, violation of the geometrical limits of the base, amongst others. 

The prototypes of the winning team of the second instance of the competition can be seen on Figure 2.

Figure 2: Photo of some of the prototypes created on the second edition of the event [1].  

The team with the highest score between the two stages is then considered the winner of the BUILD UP. The team members are then invited to become full members of the company, thus allowing for their abilities and knowledge to be further developed. Additionally, the three better scoring teams are awarded with a money prize which aims at recognising the effort and talent dedicated. In previous versions there were highlighted participants in losing teams and, therefore, according to the internal availability and need, positions were also offered to these students. The whole evaluating team is instigated and attentive to identify new talents and to look beyond the competition.

Figure 3: Participants of the KOT BUILD UP in both editions of the event [1].  

After both editions took place, it was clear that the competition was very useful in its proposition. All the participants were invited to apply the knowledge and structural analogical techniques in order to develop working abilities within a team, also focusing on communication and discussion starting from the presentation to the technical reports leading to a very profitable experience for everybody involved.  Besides, the students who had the opportunity to carry out the project in the company showed an outstanding performance in the positions they were assessed for.

KOT hopes to, very soon, be able to return with the KOT BUILD UP activities, always embracing the academic environment and offering opportunities to professionals who are at the initial stages of their path and who are willing to share and grow together. Following in the footsteps of the company’s founder, Ihor Kotchergenko, KOT aims to be a power plant of qualified professionals to comply with our clients needs and the challenges of Brazilian Engineering.

To all students, we invite you to stay tuned with our social network to take part in the next editions of the KOT BUILD UP!

Get in touch with KOT’s specialists team!

KOT Engenharia’s Team

With over 27 years of history and various services provided with excellence in the international market, the company promotes the integrity of its clients’ assets and collaborates in solutions to engineering challenges. For this integrity, it uses tools for calculation, inspection, instrumentation and monitoring of structures and equipment.


[1] KOT Engenharia’s archives.

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