AIMS Students Win First Place at Business Analytics Hackathon

Four LMU undergraduate students majoring in Applied Information Management Systems (AIMS) won first place at the Business Analytics Hackathon, hosted by the University of San Francisco. Alison Ingrey, Gabriel Say, Tapiwa Tafa and Jordan Zuniga beat other schools across the U.S. with their combination of stellar technical skills and superb storytelling abilities.

Students were given a large set of Chicago crime data – about one million rows – which they had never seen before. Their task was to analyze the data within seven hours, find patterns in the historical data, make predictions about future crime activities and give recommendations to policy makers. A second team of LMU students also competed, comprised of Nicholas Slanec, Zach Van Ysseldyk, Prinyanka Gupta and John Marfice.

“My biggest takeaway from this experience is that our AIMS department is doing the right thing by offering classes like Intro to Big Data and Developing Business Applications Using SQL,” said Gabriel Say. “I felt well-prepared once I received the data set and had some direction with what I wanted to develop.”

Curiosity inspired Alison Ingrey to participate in the competition. She saw this as an opportunity to bring her skills outside of the classroom and use them in a very real world setting.

“The challenge of a given task deriving actionable results can be incredibly fun and interesting,” she said. “This experience has inspired me to want to do more with my AIMS major both before and after I graduate.”

“This was such a priceless learning experience,” added AIMS Professor Ying Sai, who accompanied the students to San Francisco. “Students from both teams worked extremely hard, and used a lot of the data analytics tools and programming skills that they’ve learned in their AIMS classes. This competition has motivated our students to learn more about data analytics.”

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