Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Q&A with Edward, Datathon 2017 participant

Edward participated in the first Rotman MMA datathon and joined the first MMA class which started in August 2018.

What made you decide to sign up to the Rotman MMA Datathon in 2017?

I was doing research on various graduate programs when I came across the advertisement for the Datathon. With the incentive to apply to a program focused on data analysis, I wanted to gain exposure to it, to challenge myself, and to meet the staff of the program.

I learned that datathon provides exposure to SAS, networking opportunities with panelists, and most importantly, the experience of being a student at Rotman.

Was the event what you expected?

Mostly. We were able to use SAS Viya, a simplified online version of SAS. We had introductory training in using SAS. Tutors visited the teams and provided guidance when needed, and we gained networking opportunities with the faculty. Although our team ended up relying on R and Python more than SAS (we were allowed to use R and Python from past knowledge), everything else during the event was very meaningful for us.

What were your fellow participants like?

We formed our own groups. I grouped up with my best friend of 3rd year undergraduate studies in Actuarial Science and Statistical Sciences. She then invited her friend, a recent graduate, who is currently working. We all come from fairly similar backgrounds, (economics, statistics, actuarial science).

What was your highlight of the event?

The opportunity to work on a real case and provide insights on this issue which has been troubling the Ministry of Education was one of my highlights. I am happy that my work was helpful to others.

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

A huge impact. When I actually worked until late night with my group to finish our case, and got a chance to present it the next day, I was drawn to this kind of atmosphere at Rotman. I also have to mention that getting to know the faculty members and staff made me feel welcomed, connected, and at ease; these are the two of my main takeaways.

What advice/tips would you give to someone taking part in our Datathon in 2018?

I’d suggest all participants to first give thoughts into first understanding and preparing the data. Then determine the significant factors to focus on and calculate their effects and correlation.

The interesting part is interpreting your results and actually transforming it to a business solution.

Is there anything else you want to add about the event?

Things I didn’t realize before attending Datathon is the amount of missing values and inconsistency in raw data. When I learned that Professor Dmitry had already simplified and cleaned the data for our datathon, it raised new questions for me: how much trust and reliance can we put on these data?


The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional in 9 months.

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