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From left, Abhiram Pannala, Katie Coon, Trishla Mishraand and Alex Lobman receive congratulations from mascot Herky the Hawk after placing second in the University of Iowa Business Analytics Case Competition.

OSU student team places second at Iowa Business Analytics Case Competition

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A group of four Oklahoma State University master’s in business analytics students recently placed second in the University of Iowa’s Business Analytics Case Competition in Iowa City, Iowa.

The team of Katie Coon, Alex Lobman, Trishla Mishra and Abhiram Pannala brought home the second-place prize while competing against 15 other teams representing universities from across the U.S., including Carnegie Mellon, Fordham, Maryland, Minnesota, Cal-Irvine, Missouri State, Illinois, Alabama, Iowa State and George Mason. It’s the first time an OSU team has placed in the top three in the four years of the Iowa competition.

“I am so proud of our team,” Coon said. “This competition is extremely tough, and I know each of us are ecstatic that we had the opportunity to compete in the finals. I think we were all happy to give this program the recognition it deserves as well to make our program director Dr. Goutam Chakraborty delighted with our performance at his alma mater. I think that by placing second it shows that we definitely have what it takes to compete and only pushes us to do better than we did before.”

The case provided by UnityPoint Health tasked each of the teams with finding a solution to reducing appointment cancellations throughout its network of hospitals, clinics and home care services in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.

“Our team’s solution was Certainty, a schedule-optimizer that gives personalized appointment recommendations to patients that reduces their likelihood of appointment cancellation,” Pannala said. “We used sophisticated machine learning algorithms to come up with these recommendations based on the patient’s previous history with the clinic. We believe the judges liked the solution because it was practical and easily implementable.”

Coon was recognized as the best presenter by the judges, the only individual award given at the competition.

“Winning the best presenter award gave me so much confidence and assurance,” she said. “I come from a non-technical background having about nine months of programming experience under my belt, which is a short amount of time compared to my peers. While my professors, peers and family have reminded me over and over again to not worry about that, it can be hard at times to not focus on what I view as a weak point. Receiving that award not only gave me a confidence boost but reminded me that I should embrace my strengths.”

Sarah Chabinak, manager of graduate programs in the Spears School of Business, was pleased with how the team represented OSU.

“Our team of students spent many long hours coming up with solutions to minimize UnityPoint Health’s appointment no-show problem through data analysis and visualization,” she said. “They put together an excellent presentation that was well received by two panels of judges, and I am very proud of both their analytical and presentation skills.”

For more information about the master’s in business analytics program at OSU, visit the website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Tush | Director, Marketing and Communications | 405-744-2703 |

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