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MScs tackle real-world challenge through Hack the Case

  • Communications
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  • Apr 18, 2019
MScs tackle real-world challenge through Hack the Case

Team Deviants won the 2019 Hack the Case competition

In recent years, hackathons have taken the world by storm. Firms hold internal ones to test new ideas and uncover talents. They’re used in the science world to bring together researchers to get a new collaboration off the ground. They’re even used to unite volunteers for a charitable purpose or cause.

At Ivey, they’re used to give students a chance to solve real problems for real companies under real-life pressures and time constraints. Case in point: the 2019 Hack the Case competition, presented by Ivey, Deloitte, SAS, Scotiabank, and the Centre for Advanced Computing.

For the third annual Hack the Case, April 8-18, 48 MSc Business Analytics students were challenged to help Scotiabank improve customer engagement with its  SCENE® Program – in just one week. Prior to that, they received intensive corporate training from SAS employees. The goal is to prepare them to analyze complex and large data to make fact-based decisions, which is what they’ll do in the workforce and ever more important in an age of disruption.

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Big data. Big challenge.

“Through Hack the Case, Ivey’s Masters students are exposed to a truly real big data challenge – with an emphasis on big,” said Fredrik Odegaard, an associate professor of Management Science who wrote the case for the competition. “As in real business life, you can not Google your way to the right answer here.”

Odegaard said the students not only have to make sense of the massive volume and diverse variety of the data, but must also develop an appropriate and insightful analysis, and finally deliver a compelling and managerially relevant presentation on their strategic plan.

It’s a win-win for all involved. The students learn how to analyze raw data, and the partners benefit from hearing fresh insights from the students.

In the end, two finalist teams were selected from preliminary presentations and advanced to the last round.

And the winners are…

The winning team, Team Deviants, consisted of Michael Cao, Westy Chen, Shiv Khanna, Olivia Lyons, and Max Yang. The runner-up team, The Hackers, included Robert Eboh, Sijie Huang, Danny Leese, Lindi Mokgethe, and Austin Wong.

The members of Team Deviants together received $1,000 and tickets to attend a Toronto Raptors game this fall, where they will be seated in the SAS box with the opportunity to network with industry experts. The Hackers received $500.