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OSU business analytics students Neil Belford, Jordan Humes, Manasi Murde and Bruce Rehburg teamed up to form the SASssy Coders, a team that placed second in the SAS Global Forum Symposium competition.

Four OSU teams place among the top eight in SAS Global Forum Symposium competition

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Four teams of Oklahoma State University business analytics students placed in the top eight at the SAS Global Forum Symposium, which recently came to a close after nine months of competition.

Leading the way was an OSU team comprised of Manasi Murde, Bruce Rehburg, Jordan Humes and Neil Belford, which placed second out of the 60 teams and 17 universities that registered for the event. The second-place team’s paper examined “Reducing Ecological Footprint: Examining Panel Data.”

“Winning second place in SAS Global Forum Symposium feels great, and I am extremely proud of our team – SASssy Coders,” Murde said. “Several months of hard work, persistence and team effort finally paid off with a sweet victory. I think we are all very happy, and we would like to extend our gratitude to our program director, Dr. Goutam Chakraborty, and professor, Dr. Venu Lolla, for their constant motivation and guidance.”

The other OSU teams and students making the top eight were:

  • Venki Konduri, Sravani Sigadam, Sarada Padathula and Ashish Pamu: “Hate Speech Classification of Social media posts using Text Analysis and Machine Learning”
  • Arvind Dhanabal, Alex Lindsay and Mason Kopasz: “Police Shooting in the United States and What Happens After Police Shootings?”
  • Ashlesha Sampathi, Venkat Reddy, Nitesh Maruthi and Mounica Mandapati: “Analyzing the Factors Impacting Suicidal Behavior in American Youth”

The SAS Global Forum competition began in August. The students started by selecting a research topic of their choice, scraping the internet and accessible public websites for appropriate data, analyzing the data and writing a report, which was submitted in January. After being evaluated by a group of experts, the top eight teams were selected to compete in the next stage, which included pre-recorded videos of their presentations shown to the judges following the cancellation of the symposium because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Having to compete with 60 teams is a tremendous challenge and an opportunity we are grateful for,” Murde said. “The competition helped us broaden our mindset and look into matters of societal and environmental well-being, and as graduate students of analytics we were able to analyze the data, gather insights from the results and provide our recommendations as practical business solutions. I now feel confident to go out and explore the world of analytics.”

Chakraborty and Lolla were pleased with the OSU students.

“I am delighted with the performance of all four OSU teams who qualified for the final round in this prestigious competition and a special congratulations to the team finishing second,” said Chakraborty, SAS Professor of Marketing Analytics and director of the MS in Business Analytics and Data Science program.

“I am extremely proud of all of the hard work by members of each of the four teams under the guidance of Dr. Lolla. Throughout the history of this tournament the last five years, OSU teams have consistently been in the top eight which is a testament to the strength of our students and faculty involved in the Master’s in Business Analytics and Data Science program.”

“All of our teams brought forth passion and creativity along with the technical skills,” Lolla said. “The passion of various team members (for various causes) was evident through the data that they selected, the analyses conducted, and the reports they produced. From detecting hate speech in tweets to analyzing suicidal behavior in youth to analyzing police shootings to reducing ecological footprint, our teams tackled a diverse set of interesting, important, and globally relevant issues.”

OSU analytics students continue to show they are among the nation’s best.

“Each year at SAS Global Forum, OSU students showcase innovative uses of analytics that shed light on societal and global challenges,” said Lynn Letukas, director of Global Academic Programs for SAS. “Their professionalism and preparation ensure Dr. Chakraborty’s students are a force to be reckoned with in our competitions.”

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

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