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The OSU team of Sean Everett, Hannah Perz, Trinh Phan and Maryam Teherirani placed first at the SAS Global Forum 2021 Student Symposium Competition.

OSU students sweep first, second and third at SAS Global Forum Research Symposium

Friday, April 30, 2021

Media Contact: Terry Tush | Director, Marketing and Communications | 405-744-2703 |

Oklahoma State University’s graduate business analytics and data science program has proven again that its students are among the best in the world by recently sweeping first, second and third place at the SAS Global Forum 2021 Student Symposium Competition. 

The team of Sean Everett, Trinh Phan, Hannah Perz and Maryam Teherirani won first place at the virtual symposium in which students from universities around the world participated in the research competition. Placing second was the OSU team of Kalyan Alisetty, Taylor Murray, Vinil Rayala and Jaswinder Singh, while Sam Edison, Akhil Emani, Nithisha Katta and Rushya Puttam finished third.

“I am beyond words to describe how proud I am of our MS BAnDS students,” said Dr. Goutam Chakraborty, SAS Professor of Marketing Analytics and director of the Masters in Business Analytics and Data Science program. “This is the first time in the history of this competition that teams from a single university won all three top spots. This shows how well prepared our students are to compete and win globally.”

The first-place team analyzed data from the Household Pulse Survey to explore factors that may impact whether an individual becomes unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Winning first place is a confidence booster foremost,” Everett said. “If any of us on the team harbored the slightest doubts about our analytics mettle, winning this competition definitely helps assuage those doubts. Despite a few new gray hairs, I’m very pleased that our hard work paid off. It was an all-around team effort.”

The second-place team worked with data from Pew Research to determine the level of trust Americans place in scientific experts. The third-place team’s analysis of U.S. Department of Education data examined how individuals seek to invest in higher education and how it may assist in the process of selecting schools that present higher income and lower student debt paths.

Each team selected its own research idea, found the appropriate data to analyze before submitting a final report. From all the submissions, eight teams were selected to make presentations of their findings to judges in the finals, five of which were teams representing OSU. The two-person team of Matthew Fruge and Noah Heinrich qualified for the final round, and the team of Nikhil Gunti, Maruthi Nanduri, Monish Vallamkonda and Frank Yeboah also advanced to the finals.

“In my opinion, competitions motivate students to succeed and provide more rewards than just the winning prize,” said Taherirani, a member of the first-place team. “Competition provides participants with opportunities to gain meaningful experience, demonstrate skills, analyze and evaluate results and identify individual skills. It also encourages students to use innovative methods to develop their ideas and abilities.

“This teamwork also helped me make new friends. Besides these, some of my skills that I had neglected were showcased by participating in this competition. So, all of the mentioned advantages help me brighten up my resume and improve my experiences and skills that definitely will be helpful in my future career in data analytics/science.”

Chakraborty was pleased with the performance of the students and faculty who assisted them.

“I thank all the faculty who prepared our students over the two years of the MS BAnDS program,” Chakraborty said. “I also want to acknowledge Dr. Venu Lolla, an adjunct faculty, who mentored each team through the arduous seven-month process of selecting a research idea, finding appropriate data to answer the research questions, analyzing data and writing a report and then make a professional quality video presentation.”

“All the student teams invested a lot of time and effort through what has been a very challenging year,” Lolla said. “The teams did a fantastic job of combining competence, creativity, curiosity and communication skills. They did it with discipline, diligence and determination. We are extremely proud of the teams’ accomplishments.”

For more information about the master’s in business analytics and data science program at OSU, visit

Taylor Murray, Vinil Rayala, Kalyan Alisetty and Jaswinder Singh
Taylor Murray, Vinil Rayala, Kalyan Alisetty and Jaswinder Singh won second place in the competition.

Akhil Emani, Sam Edison, Rushya Puttam and Nithisha Katta
The OSU team of Akhil Emani, Sam Edison, Rushya Puttam and Nithisha Katta placed third.

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