Four Bryant students who competed in an academic data science competition
The team of Cadri Folami '21 (double major in Data Science and Accounting), Alexander Morrow '21 (double major in Applied Analytics and Marketing), Trevor Hazlewood '21 (major in Data Science), and Jorge Karduss '21 (dual degree program in Data Science and Global Supply Chain Management) placed second at a recent academic competition sponsored by Raytheon and hosted by the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern in Boston. Judges were impressed by the team's data analytics and foundational business skills.
Data analysis plus business skills provide winning edge at new academic competition
Jan 07, 2020, by Staff Writer

Bryant students' successes in regional, national, and international academic competitions are due in no small part to applied, real-world learning experiences on campus that prepare them to make an impact and drive change as professionals.

There students prove themselves to be avid competitors, demonstrating mastery of course concepts and theories, sharp time management, and spot-on presentation skills as they presented creative business solutions to panels of executives who served as judges.

Among the highlights: Bryant earned second place in the first-ever Interdisciplinary Academic Competition, sponsored by Raytheon and hosted by the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern in Boston. Bryant finished behind a team from Northeastern, and outperformed teams from UMass Amherst, Boston University, and additional Northeastern teams. 

Judges acknowledge the Bryant advantage

At the Northeastern competition, students had three hours to analyze a business strategy case and present solutions to a panel of judges – executives and experienced professionals from organizations such as Gillette, Raytheon, Wayfair, Deloitte, EY, and several other Fortune 500 companies.

The competition was open to all majors. The Bryant team included Cadri Folami '21 (double major in Data Science and Accounting), Jorge Karduss '21 (dual degree program in Data Science and Global Supply Chain Management), Alexander Morrow '21 (double major in Applied Analytics and Marketing), and Trevor Hazlewood '21 (major in Data Science). Faculty advisors were Suhong Li, Ph.D., Professor of Information Systems and Analytics, and John Visich, Ph.D., Professor of Management.

“We used numbers to ground our decisions, creating strong arguments for our ideas. ...That helped convince the judges.”

What was the key to the Bryant team’s impressive performance? A Bryant education, say team members and their advisors. The group said their data analysis expertise coupled with a strong business foundation differentiated them from their competitors.

“We each study a different discipline, but all four of us major in data science or analytics,” said Alexander Morrow. “We used numbers to ground our decisions, creating strong arguments for our ideas.” They were the only group to present any quantitative analysis, creating multiple data graphs for the judges.

“That helped convince the judges and give us that extra push,” said Karduss.

Li said the strength of Bryant’s data science program as well as the real-world learning experience offered by the University helped the team shine.

“Two judges said we had the best Q&A, which was great to hear.”

In most data science and business courses at the University, students work together – not just in team projects but in case competitions sponsored by real companies, too. Why? Li says students need to know how to apply their skills in the context of business demand. “Bryant emphasizes experiential learning in every business major,” she says. “Students apply concepts by doing real work. They take their learning beyond—and sharpen their soft skills, like collaboration and communication.”

Such training “made it very easy to jump right into competing with confidence,” says Morrow. 

“Balance really helped us,” Folami notes. “Bryant does a good job of giving us a good all-around business foundation,” a strength the judges noticed. “I think the broadness also helped during the Q&A,” he says. “Two judges said we had the best Q&A, which was great to hear.”

Intercollegiate competitions year round

Students participate in intercollegiate academic competitions all throughout the year. By the time the Northeastern competition was held, students had also participated in the below competitions, with more to come in the future. Updates to be published on Bryant News.

  • College Fed Challenge - Boston: In this year’s Fed Challenge, the Bryant team, comprised of a variety of majors, competed against schools from around New England, including Ivy League institutions such as Harvard University. The challenge was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where teams had to present an overview of the current state of the economy, provide an economic forecast, and issue well-supported monetary policy recommendations.  

  • Northeastern University - CUIBE International Business Case Competition: Endorsed by the Consortium for Undergraduate International Business Education (CUIBE), the NU-CUIBE competition took place at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business in Boston. All CUIBE-member schools participated in the competition. The Bryant team, comprised of International Business students, and teams representing 15 other top business schools across the country spent three days in intensive preparations, then presented a unique business case. 

  • NISC, ICSC, and RNMKRS: Bryant’s Sales students participated in the 2019 Northeast Intercollegiate Sales Competition (NISC), hosted by Bryant and sponsored by Carousel, as well as the International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC), hosted by Florida State University and sponsored by Grey Matter and Paycom. These competitions featured individual, tournament-style and speed-sell categories. Students also participated in the RNMKRS Virtual Sales Competition, the largest and first-ever competition of its kind, sponsored by Dell. Over 1,500 students competed on their phones, having sales conversations with an artificially intelligent customer bot that also scores students. Bryant placed third in the overall competition at NISC and had 8 students in top 15 at RNMKRS.

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