Skip to Main Content
News@Ivey · Communications

Ivey MSc Business Analytics students learn about future careers

May 4, 2017

Hack the case thumb

The Ivey Business School teamed up with Deloitte, SAS, and Scotiabank to create a unique case competition called “Hack the Case” – a 10-day glimpse into the world of business analytics.

The participants:

The competition:

  • Each team was presented with a set of real, but masked, customer data from Scotiabank’s SCENE loyalty card program and was required to solve a business problem. Working in consultation with professional mentors, students were asked to show how big data informs complex business decisions through a real-world, hands-on experience over a compressed period of time.

The training:

  • Early in the competition, students undertook intensive SAS training to develop their data analytics skills before splitting up into case competition teams.

The work:

  • Students worked through their solutions during the week before heading to Deloitte in Toronto for the final day of the competition and presentations. During the week, students were assigned mentors from SAS and Deloitte to help them refine their thinking. The Centre for Advanced Computing (CAC) at Queen’s University supplied the server and hosted the data.

But wait, there’s a twist:

  • Teams were presented with a difficult twist only eight hours prior to their final presentations. In a rapid, on-the-fly hackathon, each team was forced to re-work its analysis based on new information.

The winners:

  • First place: The Hack Street Boys – The team of David Chuang, Elliott Leifer, Temi Odesanya, Jerry Sun, Marium Warraich, and Rachel Wu was awarded first place. The judges said the students developed strong strategic insights from the analytics and showed keen management acumen. However, their ability to address questions after their presentation also set them apart from other teams.
  • Second place: We R SASsy – Julia Bu, Liam Corrigan, Garros Gong, Pearl Kwan, and Elsa Zhao.
  • Third place: You Ain’t SCENE Nothin’ Yet – Rohin Attrey, Ino Lai, Michelle Lo, Andrew Robinson, and Richard Zhang.

Lessons learned – The Hack Street Boys:

Here are the lessons learned from the Hack Street Boys: 

  • There exists no perfect analytic tool to solve every real-life problem, but rather appropriate tools with rational interpretation.
  • Understanding the business is key to maximizing data insight to drive strategic business decisions and create sustainable competitive advantages.
  • Embracing diversity in skills and opinions determines the quality and depth of the analysis.

The biggest hurdle – We R SASsy:

  • “The biggest hurdle to overcome was the degree and amount of ambiguity and complexity we had to deal with throughout the process. The uncertainty came from a variety of sources, including data interpretation, modelling process, and multiple objectives from different stakeholders. However, consistent communication with the client allowed us to target and focus our analysis on the right direction and finally deliver the solution achieving client goals,” said Julia Bu.

Working as a team – You Ain’t SCENE Nothin’ Yet:

  • “The magnitude of the project posed a great deal of challenges, which meant that it was sometimes difficult to set a clear vision. There were differences in how each team member viewed the problem, but the final solution was really an amalgamation of all members’ ideas,” said Rohin Attrey.

What the partners said:

“Hack the Case supports our mission at Ivey to prepare students for what lies ahead. Working with corporate leaders from Deloitte, SAS, and Scotiabank, we are simulating pressure-packed scenarios and problems that will prepare students for the data-driven careers of the 21st century.”
Mark Vandenbosch, Associate Dean, Programs, Ivey Business School

“Innovative approaches to tackling real business challenges come to light when talented individuals collaborate with open minds and a common goal. The Deloitte Greenhouse is a space to accelerate those breakthroughs and to cultivate ideas, relationships, and opportunities. We’re pleased to host students from Ivey here at our Greenhouse for that purpose.”
Nat D’Ercole, Partner, Deloitte

“Developing the next generation of analytical talent for the global data-driven economy is critical to the success of students and the organizations they will go on to work for. As the leader in analytics for more than 40 years, SAS is committed to initiatives like this that offer students the ultimate training; equipping them with the real-world, real-life data expertise they will need to be successful.”
Cameron Dow, President, SAS Canada

"We want to congratulate the winners of Ivey’s Hack the Case competition. Scotiabank believes in supporting organizations that help young people realize their infinite potential. This is why we are proud to support this hackathon and the young, talented innovators who brought their ideas to life. These young people are Canada’s future business leaders and we look forward to seeing what they achieve next.”
Kyle McNamara, Executive Vice President, Global Retail Banking Technology, Scotiabank