On April 19, 2022, the Smith Analytics Consortium proudly kicked off its third annual Datathon sponsored by Deloitte, one of the consortium’s closest industry sponsors. The 9-day-long, data-focused competition provided University of Maryland students the opportunity to use their problem-solving, analytical, and data visualization skills. The participants built a company revenue analysis and sales forecasting model for Bandcamp, an indie-style creator platform.
As part of the problem statement, participants were provided with a large, unstructured dataset for their technical analysis. The students were able to leverage and apply skills learned from their curriculum to real-world business problems, translating their insights into actionable business strategies.
As part of the competition, students were mentored by Deloitte professionals throughout the Datathon and had an exclusive opportunity to attend a Deloitte Core Consulting Workshop. The workshop served as a dynamic session to hone the consulting skills of the students and provided great insights into the consulting world. “Our practitioners from Deloitte did a wonderful job of nurturing our consulting skills throughout the engagement,” says Yash Raizada, a rising first-year full-time MBA student and one of the winners of the Datathon.
“The Datathon was a huge success considering the participation, passion and creativity that was demonstrated by the students. Each solution was more ingenious than the one before, our students did a fantastic job of showcasing their motivation to learn further and their innate ability to quickly make sense of ambiguity,” says Wedad Elmaghraby, Smith Analytics Consortium co-director and Dean’s Professor of Operations Management for the Robert H. Smith School of Business.
The students utilized predictive analytics methodologies and machine learning models in R to create sales forecasts for the client and recommended marketing plans to grow revenue. With nearly 150-plus participants, teams included students from many different graduate programs. An initial round of internal assessment was conducted by Smith faculty which was used to formulate the final teams presenting to the judges from Deloitte. From the final pool of recommendations, the judges from Deloitte announced the top three winners who received cash prizes and gifts from Smith. The Datathon culminated with a networking lunch for the final participants, the mentors from Deloitte, and the SAC program co-directors.
“Thank you to all of the students who participated in the Datathon, and to Wendy Moe and Wedad Elmaghraby for your leadership. We had a great time!” says Darren Schneider, a principal consultant at Deloitte and one of the judges for the Datathon.
“Had a blast hosting the third iteration of the UMD Smith Analytics Consortium Datathon! Beyond impressed with what the highly motivated UMD students were able to accomplish in a rapid, one-week sprint. Extremely grateful to Wendy Moe and Wedad Elmaghraby for the opportunity and their leadership; looking forward to next year's competition,” says Connor Welch, a consultant at Deloitte, a Smith Analytics Consortium member, and the host for the Datathon.
Elmaghraby added, “Deloitte has been a great industry partner, with this latest program building on previous rich collaborations, including the hands-on virtual summer workshop for MBA & MS students in September 2020.”
Welch added, “Deloitte has also gotten a lot from this program and hopes to hold similar workshops and competitions in the future. To have an army of students come in and provide those unique perspectives, we definitely see the value there so, we’re looking forward to the next one.”
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.