During TechFest 2021, undergraduate students from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business took home top honors in the KPMG Excel Competition.
Hosted by the Department of Decision, Operations and Information Technologies, the competition was open to all UMD students.
Students Rachel Ma, information systems, and Sayaka Shanbhag, finance, won first place.
Teams were tasked with helping a fictitious client who operates a restaurant in College Park and is seeking to leverage business intelligence and data analytics to help further the restaurant’s success.
In the first round, participants were provided with a dataset containing 18,105 reviews for 298 restaurants around the University of Maryland, College Park between years 2006 and 2016. By March 25, teams were expected to submit an Excel file and presentation of their findings and potential recommendations.
The top six teams from the first round were then instructed to identify a running restaurant or business in the College Park area and apply analytical methodologies to evaluate the Yelp and real world reviews of the selected business.
Those teams presented their findings to a panel of judges from KPMG, who narrowed the field to three teams based on the level of the presentation’s impact and insights.
In April, the three finalists pitched their ideas to KPMG judges and a general audience. Financial awards were presented to all three teams within the range of $70 to $120 per student.
The students said the competition was a transformational experience because of the chance to apply Excel skills in a real-world scenario.
"Before this year, neither of us had ever taken an information systems course, nor had a deep understanding of the importance of being able to utilize Excel effectively. This competition allowed us to apply many of the skills that we've honed in BMGT 301 by working together to mine through datasets and to generate business insights,” said Shanbhag. “Thank you to Professor Zeinab Karake, Professor Adam Lee, and KPMG for making this event happen!”
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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 part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty 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.