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Nike’s Capstone program provides high school students with an opportunity to develop important hard and soft skills that will serve them well both in future educational pursuits and career paths. Through this program, students work in teams on a real-world project proposed by Nike to help solve a business challenge. This hands-on experience allows students to gain valuable project management, collaboration, communication, and problem-solving abilities.

Some of the key skills students are able to hone through the Capstone program experience include:

Project Management Skills – Students learn what it takes to successfully plan and execute a complex project from start to finish. They have to define project goals and scope, develop a work plan with timelines and assign responsibilities, track progress, and ensure the project is delivered on schedule and meets requirements. This teaches skills like priority setting, resource allocation, and adapting to changes that are critical for any career.

Collaboration Skills – As members of multidisciplinary teams, students learn effective collaboration techniques for working together toward a common goal. They practice clear communication, active listening, consensus building, handling conflicts constructively, and tapping the diverse strengths each person brings. Participating in team-based problem solving readies students for the many collaborative work environments they will likely face.

Communication Skills – Both oral and written communication skills are sharpened through delivering project presentations and documentation. Students practice organizing information logically, adapting messages for different audiences like clients or stakeholders, and using various media like slides, reports and demonstrations. Delivering persuasive recommendations enhances presentation and public speaking confidence.

Problem Solving Skills – The real-world business challenges provided by Nike require innovative thinking. Students have to analyze complex problems from multiple angles, brainstorm creative solutions, conduct research, test ideas, and iterate based on outcomes. This strengthens critical thinking, research proficiencies, and the ability to tackle open-ended problems—skills integral to any career path.

Design Thinking Skills – Many Capstone projects involve designing new product concepts, prototypes or user experiences. This immerses students in the full iterative design process of empathizing with user needs, defining the problem, ideating solutions, prototyping, testing, and refining based on feedback. Students not only strengthen creative design skills but also learn human-centered approaches through practicing design thinking methodologies.

Research Skills – To thoroughly understand business challenges and solution spaces, students extensively research topics through literature reviews and primary data gathering like surveys, interviews and contextual inquiries. This improves their abilities to efficiently gather, assess validity of, synthesize and apply information from diverse sources—all key attributes of any research-driven career.

Time Management Skills – With tight deadlines and competing priorities across classes, activities and personal lives, students experience the importance of self-discipline, prioritization, planning and organizational abilities needed to effectively manage workload and schedules. The program cultivates time management proficiencies central to work-life balance.

Leadership Skills – While working as a team, students alternate facilitating meetings, motivating others, resolving conflicts, delegating responsibilities, setting examples and driving projects forward under constraints and ambiguity. Even those who may not be formal group leaders gain exposure to developing leadership presence and guiding successful team efforts.

Perseverance – Taking on open-ended challenges that may encounter setbacks along the way builds students’ perseverance, willingness to learn from mistakes/failures, and determination to find solutions—all qualities needed to progress in uncharted problem spaces. The hands-on work gives students confidence to push through obstacles and iterative approaches to continuous improvement.

The diverse hard and soft skills strengthened through participating in Nike’s high-impact Capstone program provide a strong foundation for whatever future studies or careers students may pursue. The real-world, collaborative project experience equips students to become flexible, resourceful problem solvers ready to excel in dynamic, fast-paced work environments of the future.


The Microsoft Capstone program provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate directly with Microsoft engineers and designers on developing real-world technology projects. This hands-on work experience allows students to gain valuable hard and soft skills that will serve them well as they transition from academia to their careers.

Students have the chance to work alongside Microsoft professionals to identify technology opportunities, design solutions, write code, test products, and help ship market-ready applications and services. Through this process, they learn best practices for agile product development and gain real insights into professional software development workflows and company culture at a leading global technology organization.

Capstone projects give students ownership over meaningful work that expands Microsoft’s offerings and helps address societal or business challenges. Knowing they are directly contributing to innovative solutions that will impact users worldwide boosts students’ confidence and motivates them to excel. Successfully delivering projects from ideation through launch looks great on resumes and provides excellent talking points for interviews.

Working directly with Microsoft engineers exposes students to advanced technologies, development platforms, tools, and frameworks that they may not learn about in the classroom. They receive guidance and mentorship from experienced professionals, picking up skills in software architecture, collaboration platforms, programming languages, data analytics, cloud services, user experience design, and more. This “skilling up” enhances students’ career prospects and employability in high-growth fields.

Completing a Capstone project shows potential employers that students have applied academic knowledge to real problems, managed competing priorities throughout a product development cycle, and delivered working applications, websites, or other technical artifacts. It demonstrates an ability to take initiative, communicate effectively across disciplines, meet deadlines, and solve unexpected challenges—all essential career skills. Employers place high value on practical, job-relevant experience, so the Capstone program gives graduates a competitive advantage.

Students forge connections with Microsoft employees across engineering, design, marketing, operations and other functions. These mentor relationships provide career advice, references for jobs/internships, and exposure to different roles within a large company. The network developed through a Capstone project expands students’ professional sphere and introduces them to potential opportunities down the road. Staying engaged with mentors long-term supports career progression.

Presenting Capstone work at events and conferences allows students to showcase their talents to broader audiences including other tech companies. Partnerships with Microsoft carry prestige that grabs attention from recruiters. Students also gain confidence speaking about their work to potential clients, stakeholders, and peers. Public speaking experience is invaluable preparation for career fairs and interviews.

Beyond skills and experience, the Capstone program fosters critical intangible benefits. Students learn to adapt to changing priorities, handle stress, think innovatively under constraints, and work as part of diverse, multi-disciplinary teams. They gain persistence solving open-ended challenges without a single right answer. These types of “soft” competencies are always in high demand but hard to teach; experiential programs like Capstone help students develop them from day one of their careers.

Participating in Microsoft’s Capstone program allows students to put their classroom knowledge into practice delivering real, consequential solutions. They gain hands-on technical skills, exposure to professional workflows and cultures, mentorship from experts, expanded networks, experience presenting work publicly, and confidence that comes from meaningful accomplishments. All these benefits give Capstone students competitive advantages recruiting for jobs and internships while setting them up strongly for early career success in high-growth fields like technology, engineering and business. The program takes textbook learning to the next level and pays long-term dividends for participating students.