Undergraduates take 2nd Place in Manhattan College Business Analytics Competition

Students had the chance to work with and analyze real business data, and present their findings to a panel of executive judges.

By School of Management Posted Wed, 08/12/2015 - 16:51

University of San Francisco’s (USF) School of Management undergraduate students took 2nd place out of thirteen other Catholic universities in Manhattan College's first annual Business Analytics Competition in New York last spring semester.

For the competition, the team of students, Christine Li, Daniel Leon, Vino Suresh and Zachary Lau, spent the semester preparing. The team had to analyze large data files four weeks prior presenting their findings, including figuring out what question s to ask and how to answer them. For this, they enlisted the help of USF Associate Professor and Mouwafac Sidaoui, who encouraged and coached the students through the process and worked with them on their presentation skills.

“We worked very closely and we grew to like to the work, we supported each other and enjoyed every minute we spent together,” Li said. “Professor Sidaoui constantly remind us that the sky has no limits, do your best and you will succeed. He was right.”

After tirelessly working on the analysis the students were ready to go to New York and present at the competition.

For their presentation, the USF team found preparation was key.

“Following the advice of Professor Sidaoui, we prepared a table for our laptop with data and hand-out brochures with team profiles and a summary of our findings,” Suresh said. “Our preparation stood out from the rest of our competitors and left a positive impression on the judges and other participants. After the initial nerves settled down, we presented our poster very well, bouncing off each other and answering any questions thrown our way.”

For the next part of the competition, students were given a second set of data and only 18 hours to analyze it and present it. The USF team worked long into the night, but approached this challenge with the same positive attitude as the first.

“We presented second and we had some good and tough questions from the four judges,” Leon said. “We introduced ourselves, thanked our hosts, presented our findings, and answered the judges’ questions with professionalism. We left the stage feeling confident and relieved the presentation was over.”

The team feels what they learned during the completion are things they will be able to put to use in the future.

“We are grateful for the education that prepared us to face the world and build our confidence,” Lau said. “We returned to USF with practical skills, experience in a professional conference setting, and pride in representing our school.”

By Sage Curtis