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1st place MMA Datathon 2020 participants share insights and tips

The 3rd Annual Rotman MMA Online Datathon brought in student perspective and insight in the current ever changing world of uncertainty. Data is most powerful when interpreted and applied to solve a specific problem, and participants this year we're able to do just that.

It was also a chance to experience what the Rotman Master of Management Analytics program has to offer from the comfort of being at home while creating new friendships globally.

Every year, there is a growing interest and participation in the Datathon competition. 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.

This year’s Datathon was held from October 13-24, 2020, and included 178 participants from 15 countries. Rotman hosted 42 teams of the brightest management problem solvers to dive into real-live data set and come up with a managerial solution to a business case surrounding the data.

The 11-day online event was an excellent opportunity for those passionate about analyzing data and applying insights into real-world challenges. Working in teams of four to five, participants took full advantage of their computational skills by using software tools and program languages such as SAS, Python, R, and SQL.

Participants were able to showcase their potential, explore data sets virtually, and improve their business applications of data. One of the major challenges involved in this competition was to summarize key insights within a strict time frame and decide how to best clean, sort, and analyze real data from the organization based on the challenge provided.

“This seemed to be a great opportunity for me to learn different skills from my fellow teammates and to dive deep into each field and connect the dots to present the case study in its best form." – Apoorvi, Second Place

This year’s competition involved observing and investigating Medicare – and its challenges with medical insurance fraud. Participants had 5 minutes to present a report based on what they believed was the best solution, followed by a 3 min Q&A session with the judges.

“Looking back at what our team did in the two-week window, I believe one thing that truly makes our team stand out is our efforts in understanding the case and especially our client's (Medicare) needs. The case is not just about identifying which insurance claims are fraudulent but to provide Medicare a criterion to identify what providers need to be audited given limited time and human resources.” – Jason, 1st Place Winner

Our panel of faculty and industry experts were able to judge each submission, and award prizes to the winning teams. 

The judges – Dmitry Krass (Academic Director, MMA), Brian Keng (Chief Data Scientist at Kinaxis and Data Scientist in Residence at Rotman), Niti Mishra and Jay Cao (both from the TD Management Data and Analytics Lab) determined the top 5 teams from the competition, which later was filtered through to the top 3 winning teams.

“This datathon allows us to meet and work with like-minded individuals who are also passionate about data sciences as we are. I had the great privilege to meet my teammates and formed bonds with people that I hope will one day become my cohorts. I appreciated the opportunity to meet with the very talented group of professors who encouraged us to go the extra mile, to not only built our models but also translated our findings into actionable business intelligence.” – Team H, Third Place

A warm congratulations to:
3rd Place: Team H
2nd Place: Team S
1st Place: Team Aipha


Read more to learn about insights and advice from the 1st Place winning team.

Along with the Datathon, participants had a chance to interact and hear from alumni from the MMA program speak about their perspective and experience in the programs. Alumni were able to provide an inside scoop into management analytics at the Rotman School of Management.

Some advice from this year’s participants:

"My tip for success is to drill down to the details in client's business objectives, to think not as a student but from a manager's perspective, and to make sure that you are delivering a comprehensive solution that addresses them all." – Jason, 1st Place Winner

“My tip would definitely be to get to know your team members as early as possible, study the case in-depth, assign tasks and meet regularly to ensure that progress is on-track. Also, keeping the business objective in mind while trying to spot trends is useful.” –  Apoorvi, Second Place

“Have clear communication with your teammates at all times, understand what strengths each one brings to the table and streamline your vision to achieve your goal.” – Vidushi, Second Place 

“Make sure one group member focuses on the big picture of how the whole story of the case study ties up. The flow of the process should be extremely clear and the audience should be able to connect to the analysis just as it is being intended for the use.” – Shikhar, Second Place

Thank you to all the participants of the 2020 MMA Datathon for being part of this competition and putting in the hours of work towards this real-life challenge!

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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