Inaugural Data Analytics Competition at Michigan Ross Awards $10K in Prizes––See the Winners


The first-ever data analytics competition at Michigan Ross drew more than 100 students from all degree programs at Ross, who were no doubt excited to test their problem-solving skills.

So they may have been a tad surprised to learn the prompt: Here’s tons of data. You tell us the problem to solve.

“We expect our students to thrive in unstructured environments where they need to figure out the right question to ask,” said Sanjeev Kumar, a Ross Technology and Operations faculty member who helped organize the event. With just a 7-hour deadline, students were provided with large datasets of all US domestic flights for 2017, weather data for all airports, and major events that drew large crowds, and they were tasked with defining––and then solving––an appropriate problem.

“This was very successful,” Kumar said. “Students tackled a wide variety of problems ranging from flight delays to oil price hedging to impact of events on flight operations to predicting impact on airline stock prices.”

Jonathan Hochberg, BBA ‘18, was part of the team that took first place. “The ambiguous nature of the question posed to us was valuable as it mirrored what the situation would be like in a real business situation,” he said. “And the time limit forced us to focus on creating applicable analyses.”

“We found a win-win solution that would not only impact the customer but improve the aviation industry too by putting pressure on improving operational efficiency,” said Hochberg’s teammate, Maaz Khalid, MBA ‘18.

The Center for Value Chain Innovation arranged the Datathon in Partnership with Correlation One, a talent solutions technology company, on Friday, April 13. The event was sponsored by EY and Llamasoft, whose employees participated as judges, giving feedback to the teams and choosing the winners.

“Events like the datathon are ideal for connecting students and recruiters in the data science space,” Kumar said. “With a growing demand for students who can act as a bridge between data scientists and the business world, we expect the Datathon to be an integral part of the Ross recruitment calendar in coming years.”

The winning teams of the first Michigan Ross Datathon were:

  • First Place: Maaz Khalid, MBA ‘19; Caroline Hodge, MBA/MS ‘19; Nikhil Kalambur, MBA ‘19; Jonathan Hochberg, BBA ‘20.
  • Second Place: Olivia Ma, MBA ‘18; Sijie Cheng, MBA ‘19; Christopher Demundo, MBA ‘19; Alex Gutman, MBA ‘19
  • Third Place: Fernando Santo Andre, MBA ‘18; John McGrail, MBA ‘18; Mark Cullen, MBA ‘18; Cherish Anderson, MBA ‘19; Jyoty Subramanian, MBA ‘18.

Learn about the new Business Data Analytics Concentration at Michigan Ross