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Oklahoma State University

Graduate students place fourth at South Carolina’s Big Data Case Competition

Friday, February 28, 2020

From left, Anirud Vem, Nikhil Viswanath and Venki Konduri are congratulated by Dr. Goutam Chakraborty after their fourth-place finish at the University of South Carolina Big Data Case Competition.

A group of Oklahoma State University business analytics students placed fourth out of nearly 20 teams at the Big Data Case Competition Feb. 7-9 prior to the University of South Carolina’s National Big Data Health Science Conference.

Anirud Vem, Nikhil Viswanath and Venki Konduri, master’s students in the business analytics and data science program, traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to represent OSU, and was one of six teams advancing to the finals, eventually earning honorable mention recognition and the fourth-place finish.

“The competition taught us that the solution is not always to build an analytical model, but it is more about creating a workable solution that can be implemented in the practical world to solve the business problem,” Vem said. “It has also helped us to network with participants from various Universities and interact with professionals from the industry. 

“The way we approached the problem and came up with a solution will better prepare us to solve more complex problems. We were forced to think outside the box and had to come up with a solution in a very short period. This experience will help as we prepare to join the workforce in the coming years.”

The South Carolina competition provides teams of graduate and senior undergraduate students the opportunity to apply their knowledge to the analysis of big datasets in healthcare. Participating team are given the same business problem, datasets and access to software to solve a challenging program using a data analytics approach.

A panel of industry and academic experts judge the presentations based on the teams use of the full analytics process, from framing the problem to methodology selection, data use, model building and innovation.

“This is the first time we competed in this event, and it was a tough field with teams from big name East Coast universities such as Duke’s Medical School,” said Dr. Goutam Chakraborty, SAS Professor of Marketing Analytics and director of the MS in Business Analytics and Data Science program. “The problem involved analyzing a health emergency case with one million-plus records. In spite of not having any domain knowledge, our team did a great job and I am very proud of our team’s achievement to get an honorable mention in this national level competition.”

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