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Big Ideas with Impact

Are you living your best life outside of class? Involved in research, clubs, teams, music, you name it. We want to hear about it, and how you plan on using your experiences to create the next Big Idea that will make a difference to our world (now or in the future).

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How are you creating impact?



Big Ideas with Impact is an opportunity to showcase how you're using your non-degree experiences to create impact in your community. Whether that's through clubs and teams, co-op, committees, performing arts, or something else outside the classroom, this is a chance to highlight your involvements on a stage and win big.

Stage 1

  • Several McMaster Engineering undergraduate students will be selected to be part of Big Ideas with Impact.
  • They will be given access to exclusive coaching workshops, including public speaking, storytelling and finding your brand over five weeks.

Stage 2

  • At the end of the five weeks, the students will compete in a 'pitch' competition (think fancy speech or presentation) open to friends, family and the public in late March.
  • Three students from the competition will be selected as winners to take the stage at the Big Ideas with Impact Awards Gala in May 2020.
  • Each of the three winners will receive a cash prize between $1000 to $1500.

3 Easy Steps to Enter:

Read the contest rules

To qualify, you must be a full-time student in the Winter 2020 term.

Read all the rules! 

Share your story

Tell us about your non-degree experiences and why you want to be part of Big Ideas with Impact Pitch Night.

Submit your package

We've extended our deadline! Complete the form by Feb. 12, 2020 at 11:59pm! Winners will be announced during the week of February 17. 

Apply now!

  • Killing some time before class? Share what you do outside the classroom in 3 minutes or less. 
  • Smartphone video and audio quality is great - we just want to see you articulate your story!

Submission Details

1. Send in a video of yourself responding to the following: How has your involvement in an experiential learning activity created positive impact personally, professionally and/or the community around you? 

2. Tell us how the experiential learning activity you describe in your video has helped you grow in at least one of the following areas: entrepreneurship, research, creativity, problem solving, innovation, understanding of cultural issues or bettering your community.

3. Provide your LinkedIn profile with updated experience with clubs, teams, committees and other relevant experience.



Prize Details

1st Prize: $1500

2nd Prize: $1250

3rd Prize: $1000





Feb 28 Cam Churchill & Kate Whalen, featuring Ian Shaw and Madeline Collins How to make a difference: Intro to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
March 6 Neil Thornton, Thorton Group Nailing the presentation: Learn how to present your ideas and present yourself professionally
March 13 Fabio Marrama, LinkedIn Influencer  Building your brand
March 20 Nancy Watt, Watt Communications Communication skills for leaders

Each session runs from 5:30 to 7:30 PM in Hatch 324. Refreshments provided.

What's the presentation format?

Get to know 3MT style presentations

With roots in Australia, the Three Minute Thesis competition or 3MT gives participants (you guessed it) three minutes to convey their ideas to an audience. They can use one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props. We're taking the spirit of 3MT and applying it our event.  Learn more about  3MT here.

Helpful Links for All Participants:

The Undergraduate Competition and Faculty Researcher Seeding Big Ideas competitions will be run and judged in the spirit of 3MT®.The Graduate Competition is a 3MT®. All participants will be sent additional information unique to our events.

Any Questions?

Please email:

*The Big Ideas Contest is open to Faculty of Engineering undergraduate students only. (Includes W Booth Bachelor of Technology and iBiomed students)