Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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The annual Elevate Tech Jam brings together individuals from various disciplines to participate in an inclusive hackathon that focuses on creating solutions for the greater good, providing a sustainable focus to problem solving. Participants collaborate and apply expertise from different industry backgrounds to solve a tough problem. 

20 Rotman MMA students participated at the Elevate Tech Jam event during September 2019. Students used innovative thinking to problem-solve and collaborate with a diverse and talented team, and gain exposure to recruiters and leading industry experts. 

Over 75 teams participated in the Hackathon, including 4 teams from the MMA program. One of the MMA teams had an excellent performance, finishing second place. This team- Rotman Reptiles - included members: Mokak Poddar, Krithika Shankar, Eric Nielsen, Adam Resnik, Ziang Li and Sumiran Manghani.

In this post, Sumiran Manghani (MMA ’20) details his participation in the Elevate Tech Jam Competition as well as his experience as a Rotman Student in the MMA program.

This is one of two posts about the event. You can also read about Amy Rowe's (MMA ’20) experience at the event.

The Elevate Tech Jam

Sumiran found the Elevate Tech Jam to be an incredible learning experience. For him, the opportunity to build on presentation and business analysis skills – a necessity in both the Tech Jam and in the consulting industry- was fundamental. 

The Elevate Tech Jam focused on 3 separate competitions from Finance, Telecommunications, and IoT industries. One of the main idea was that anyone from any discipline- from computer science to commerce was able to participate. Sumiran’s team decided to enroll in the Finance competition and strategically structured a team of half computer science, half business backgrounds. This resulted in a balanced team, with a variety of knowledge and expertise to leverage for the competition. 

The case centered around developing a solution for TD and Interac- a financial technology solution to service the community better. Teams were given 48 hours to brainstorm, conceptualize an idea, and build a prototype. Although the Hackathon was a finance-based project, teams were able to tackle the issue any way that they desired-through a business focused/oriented approach, or coding and data analysis. 

“I went in to understand how these competitions work since this was the first hackathon for me, but as a team we went for the experience and to understand how other individuals in our discipline think and tackle such issues."

"Working through such an open ended case, you can come up with different possible solutions. It was really important to understand and learn form different teams' perspectives." 

The Solution- Earning the spot in the top 3

Image of MMA students at Elevate event

Sumiran’s team was able to earn second place by creating a business solution that serves the community better in terms of financial technology for TD and Interac. They came up with introducing a credit card for social good, in which the cashback generated goes into a personal portfolio of funding thorugh a microfinancing platform interated within the banking app and website. Credit card holders are able to lend money to various campaigns that they care about- such as helping disaster relief funds or individual business owners in developing economies. 

The key thing for his team was coming up with different ideas, delegating time to work on the presentation side, building a prototype, and finally being able to effectively explain the idea to the judging panel. Sumiran’s team focused on the business perspective, both the financial and strategic side of the case-how it will impact the business, and how micro financing firms will work with the credit card cashback seamlessly. 

“To be able to present our solution to such a senior audience, as well as learning other team’s perspectives was the highlight of our experiences- and getting in the top 3 was an added bonus.”

Post-Event Reflection

Sumiran encourages individuals from any discipline to consider attending the Elevate Tech Jam. While Sumiran’s team took a more business oriented approach to the case, rather than a data approach, his team could have applied material taught in the MMA program in order to solve the case. 

He mentions that the Datathon hosted by Rotman for MMA students requires more data driven solutions, and classroom knowledge would be beneficial in order to solve such cases. 

“If I were to compare the Elevate Tech Jam with the Rotman Datathon, I’d say that the Tech Jam Hackathon was more open ended. The Rotman MMA Datathon had a defined and specific problem statement with different datasets to leverage. With that being said, both competitions required us to come up with innovative solutions to a business problem."

MMA program experience

Since becoming a student in the MMA program, Sumiran has found the program to be very interesting, and is constantly learning and developing a newer perspective on things. 

“I decided to pursue the MMA program to enhance my technical skills and get a holistic understanding of analytics as a discipline. The way the industry is moving these days, you need to have those hard skills in order to leverage the data at hand." 

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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