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MMA Online Datathon 2019: Participants Stories

Every year Rotman offers individuals interested in pursuing career in management analytics to take part in our Master of Management Analytics Datathons. Participants from around the world are tasked to apply their managerial, analytical, and communication skills to develop a strategy for a managerial problem set by one of Rotman’s industry partners. 2 events were held during the month of October, one of which was campus, and the other an online version of the event. 

While the format of each Datathon was different, the goal was the same- provide the best possible solution to the real-world management problem using data.

In this post, Keshav Gupta and Aditi Mishra detail their participation in the MMA Online Datathon 2019. 

This is one of two posts about the event. You can also read about the On-Campus 2019 Datathon and student’s experiences

Rotman’s MMA online Datathon took place from October 3-9, and as stated by Academic Director Dmitry Krass “The teams had one week to understand the case and the provided data set, deal with typical data issues of incomplete records and questionable values, build analytical models and business strategies, and present their results on just 10 slides.”

Participants Stories 

Aditi Mishra, earning Honourable Mention for the Rotman MMA Online Datathon 2019 shared his experience from start to finish.

“I was researching about the MMA program at Rotman and came across Datathon. I read about the competition and the experiences of candidates who had participated in previous year's Datathon impressed me. I registered as this had the potential to introduce me to the kind of problem statements professionals deal with in day to day life. The whole experience was abundantly insightful and at the same time exhilarating.”

“I am from an engineering background and have been working as an embedded engineer for the past two years. I had teammates from engineering and analytics backgrounds, none of us knew each other before this but all of us had this common passion for analytics. Everything was very organized, the tool, Quercus (the Rotman student learning platform) was easy to use, coaches to answer our doubts were readily available and the responses were prompt. We had an interesting case at hand and every step ahead had a major learning curve. Finally, when we had the results from our analysis, we were amazed at how we had progressed in last few days and how much we had learned from it.”

 A Q&A with Keshav Gupta, winning team member, online Datathon 2019

Why did you sign up for the MMA Datathon?

“Go for it. Whether it ends good or bad, it was an experience.” I came across this quote once and from that day it has motivated me to do things without worrying about the outcome. I had been following the MMA program and the Rotman School of Management for a while when I saw the post about the Datathon on LinkedIn and decided to participate in it.

How was the experience like? 

One word that comes to my mind to describe my experience is 'amazing'. There were participants from all over the globe and with different educational backgrounds. I was a little skeptical about our chances of winning after looking at the number of teams participating in the competition. Apart from that, the case we were given emulated a real-world kind of scenario and was very challenging. There were some concepts I was not familiar with but got to learn about, while doing my background research. I also tried applying the knowledge and skills I had gained during my internship to the context of the problem. Throughout the Datathon, Prof. Dmitry Krass was really active in answering all the queries that were posted on the discussion board which helped us gain insights into the case and what was expected of us. Also, the case was very lucid and enough supporting material was provided for us to gain a sense of how we should be presenting our solutions. 

What was it like to work with a team member that I didn't know before this Datathon?

One of the main reasons I participated in this Datathon was for a chance to interact with people who have a zeal for analytics. This is exactly how it turned out to be. Despite coming from a different background, my team member was also passionate about analytics and that was something we bonded over. We knew we were working towards the same goal, trusted each other, and respected each other's opinion. We were very candid about the things we liked or not while giving each other feedback about the work, and mutually agreed on what we would be putting into the presentation. We collaborated seamlessly.

What are some of the challenges you faced during the Datathon?

It was challenging to get to know about all the terms that were relevant to the case. I had to read the case twice to make sure that I didn't miss out on any details. There were some things that were not explicitly stated. We got a chance to go beyond what was mentioned and that is what I really liked. I believe that for any analysis, it is important to get to know the data first to see what variables are relevant to the problem and then find the trends using it. That was exactly what we did; we played around with the pivot table and the data to make sure that we understand it completely. I also made many graphs that could help me identify any possible patterns. After this, consolidating all of our findings together in a presentable way was the ultimate goal. 

The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics, and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional. 

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