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MMA Datathon 2021 participant stories - Palak, 3rd place winner

The 4th Annual Rotman MMA Online Datathon brought in student perspectives and insight from all around the world! Participants took part in this event for a chance to test their analytical skills in solving an interesting challenge on the mortgage loan market. Data is most powerful when interpreted and applied to solve a specific problem, and participants this year we're able to do just that.

It was also a chance to experience what the Rotman Master of Management Analytics program has to offer from the comfort of being at home while creating new friendships globally.

Every year, there is a growing interest and participation in the Datathon competition. Participants from around the world are tasked to apply their managerial, analytical, and communication skills to develop a strategy for a managerial problem set by one of Rotman’s industry partners.

This year’s Datathon was held from September 30-October 16, 2021, and included 250 participants from 21 countries. Rotman hosted 53 teams of the brightest management problem solvers to dive into real-life data set and come up with a managerial solution to a business case surrounding the data.

The online event was an excellent opportunity for those passionate about analyzing data and applying insights into real-world challenges. Working in teams of four to five, participants took full advantage of their computational skills by using software tools and program languages such as SAS, Python, R, and SQL.

Participants were able to showcase their potential, explore data sets virtually, and improve their business applications of data. One of the major challenges involved in this competition was to summarize key insights within a strict time frame and decide how to best clean, sort, and analyze real data from the organization based on the challenge provided.

This blog post details the experience of Palak, a 3rd place winner in this year's MMA Datathon.

Quick info

  • Name: Palak Garg
  • Current position: Decision Analytics Associate, ZS Associates
  • Educational background: Bachelor of Engineering – Biotechnology, University Institute Of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University

1. What made you decide to sign up for the Rotman MMA Datathon 2021?

I have been willing to apply for the MMA program for the last 2 years and aware of the Datathon since then. Looking at the curriculum and networking with the MMA students, I was able to understand the skill set required to excel at the course. I have been preparing myself for the program for the last 2 years and this time around when I felt I was prepared, I decided to test myself by participating in the Datathon.

2. What was the challenge presented this year? 

The challenge presented this time was about the mortgage market where we had to identify the segment to be focused on for expansion of the mortgage operations.

3. Was the event what you expected? What were your fellow participants like?

Yes, the event was what I expected. We got the opportunity to solve a business problem by analyzing the data and giving our business recommendations. The team had a perfect blend of participants from different backgrounds such as finance and engineering that helped us understand the problem from different perspectives.

4. What are some lessons/takeaways that you’ve gained through this Datathon?

Participating in the Datathon was a great learning opportunity and it gave a taste of the MMA program. In addition to learning from my fellow teammates, the presentations from other teams helped us look at the problem in a different way. The feedback provided by the judges was quite valuable.

5. What was your highlight of the event?

The networking opportunity provided during the event to interact with the current MMA students to understand the course and journey was helpful and one of the highlights of the event. The event provided a chance to the participants across countries to interact, learn, compete and prove themselves.

6. How much of an impact did it make in your decision to choose the MMA program?

The networking event was impactful as it gave us an idea of the brilliant minds that are part of the program and aided in understanding the opportunities that lie ahead in your career if you are a part of the Rotman MMA program.

7. What advice/tips would you give to someone taking part in our Datathon in 2022?

I would like to advise the following to the future participants:

  1. Teamwork pays off. Ensure that you are utilizing the strengths of each member to solve the problem.

  2. Once you get the case study, read enough research papers to understand the market and the key drivers.

  3. Ensure that you are backing your business recommendations by thoroughly analyzing the data using models.

  4. After analyzing the data and identifying trends, focus on creating the storyline for your presentation.

 The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional.

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