An Interview with CMU-A Teradata University Network 2018 Challenge Participants

Posted 13th July 2018

What is TUN 2018 Challenge?

Every year, Teradata University Network (TUN), in conjunction with Teradata, hosts the data challenge with a real-time business case to be solved by university students. This year, the case study was about Bike MS - the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society’s largest fundraising campaign that engages over 70,000 participants to raise $68 million in over 75 rides across the country. It is also the largest charity cycling series in the United States. 

Bike MS has experienced a decline in the funds raised, participation and revenues since 2012 when it was at its peak. The participants were given the task of developing a corporate and digital/social acquisition and retention strategy through analysing huge volumes of data that Bike MS had collected between 2013 to 2017.

Our team focused on identifying the reasons for the decline in revenue and participation by analysing the relationships between participants and the MS patients, the gaps and opportunities for the industries to participate in the Bike MS events, underutilization of Google Grant for digitally acquiring customers, unoptimized Google search campaign which was indicated by the high CPA (cost per acquisition), underspending in many well-performing regions which could have been capitalized for high customer acquisition and retention, high spending on bad performing region, poor user experience due to non-intuitive suggestions on important pages which would lead to customer sign-up (password field does not suggest expected format clearly to the users). We also analysed various digital marketing parameters such as cost per click, cost per acquisition and came up with a spend design for 1 million dollars which the society could scale up or down as per their requirements.

As a result of our analysis, we were able to produce sound recommendations on how to identify the primary target groups, strategic spending on high/low performing regions and incentivising registrations from the industries with growth potential and improving retention rate for such teams. We also proposed introducing CSR scores to foster competition amongst the corporate industries to enhance participation and using differential pricing for first-timers and returning teams. CSR scores could be awarded based on the number of participants, amount of funds raised and donations offered. This would boost the customer acquisition and retention.

Team CMU-A Tartans in front of the campus

Your team has won the Honourable Mention. What does Honourable Mention mean?

The Honourable Mention is awarded to an entry that demonstrates sound understanding of data mining concepts. Our team was commended for our structured approach to data mining and the ability to identify the bottlenecks and provide suggestions/solutions to the problems using CRISP-DM (Cross-Industry Standard Process for Data Mining) and state-of-the-art visualization tools.

As part of the award, one of the team members receives a USD $2,200 scholarship to visit the World Teradata Analytics Universe to be held at Las Vegas, USA between Oct 14 to 18, 2018. Additionally, each team member will also receive a digital certificate and medallion.

What are your takeaways?

This competition has been a great opportunity for us to apply our Data Mining knowledge to solve a real-world problem and showcase our learning and analytical skills on a global platform.
It also taught us how to effectively collaborate with people with different skill sets and learn from one another. Our team had a mix of students with technology and policy background, which enhanced our ability to observe the problem from multiple perspectives and provide solutions with a wider applicability and appeal.

Besides enhancing our skills in analysing large datasets, we honed our ability to map findings with the requirements presented by the client. As a Data Analyst, the goal is to be a problem-solver and present relevant, feasible results to the clients. The potential social impact is an added motivation especially if our recommendations could be implemented by a not-for-profit organization to generate funds for people suffering from MS.

In a nutshell, the competition provided us with the opportunity to take our learning beyond the confines of the classroom and to solve a real-world problem for the good of the society. This experience gives us the motivation and self-belief as we start our journey towards a fruitful career in the analytics space.

What is your advice to incoming students?

Choose a subject which is going to make a difference to your career and one which you enjoy. Go beyond the textbook and embrace the real-life applications of the course. There is only so much a course can teach you in 6 weeks – take up projects, gain expertise in applying the skills you’ve learnt on real world problems and dare to innovate.

Team CMU-A Tartans: Aditya Suresh, Sudhanshu Shekhar, Mamta Jaiswal and Ameya Gokhale

The CMU-A team and their responsibilities

  • Aditya Suresh: Competition Analysis and Common denominators amongst top performing teams
  • Ameya Gokhale: Designing the complete Digital Strategy and providing recommendations for enhancing digital presence
  • Mamta Jaiswal: Identifying growth opportunities for new corporate teams and evaluating customer acquisition strategies
  • Shreya Sahay: Evaluating geographical growth opportunities and spearheading the development of the report
  • Sudhanshu Shekhar: Identifying gaps and opportunities by developing models to link industries and occupations which have maximum participation and potential to raise the highest funds

We had the opportunity to sit down with the team and had a chat #AroundTheCouch to share their personal experience. You can watch it now on the official CMU-A Instagram TV.

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