The math modeling challenge CoSIAM is a competition based on interdisciplinary collaborative work challenges. This research seeks to demonstrate the value of this type of challenge-based competition as a learning strategy outside the classroom. Based on data, we conducted a qualitative study on the perception of the participants in the last three versions of the mathematical modeling challenge, in terms of the learning achieved, the benefits of their participation, the knowledge and skills they brought into play, and the change in their conception of modeling. The participants were undergraduate and graduate students in mathematics and other areas, from several Colombian and Mexican universities. The research yielded results in three directions. The first is related to the advantages and limitations of teamwork, the second explores the learning that arises from this experience, and the third is oriented to the disciplinary knowledge mobilized for the solution of this type of problematic situation. The study allowed concluding, among other issues, that learning based on interdisciplinary problem solving, formulated from a global perspective, enhances the acquisition of valuable skills for the participants.