For the budding designers, I feel design contests offer a good starting point (launch-pad), i.e., providing opportunities to continually improve their skill-sets by getting updated with the latest trends of design while participating and/or watching the design competitions and competitors’ works.
One always wants to get clicked there. This means, every time a sword is hanging on the top of his head to remind him that he has to win the contest by kicking-out other skilled designers. One can get ample opportunity to have that exposure to improve his skill-sets by trying different fair winning methods like studying hard, doing sketches, managing time, being ethical while dealing and learning communication skills etc. And yes, it is purely subjective to his know-how on business, graphic design & design industry, community knowledge (social) and design skills.