Students showcased analytical and visualization skills in second annual Elon Champion Analytics Challenge.
By Erin Manchuso ’19
In partnership with HanesBrands, the Center for Organizational Analytics hosted the second annual Elon Champion Analytics Challenge. The competition drew five interdisciplinary teams of Elon undergraduates and one staff team, concluding in presentations to faculty, students, staff and HanesBrands employees on Oct. 4.
HanesBrands Inc., the world’s largest marketer of basic apparel, under brands such as Hanes, Champion, Playtex, Bali, Maidenform, JMS/Just My Size, Wonderbra and Gear for Sports, challenged the teams to address how the company can increase online conversion from shopper to purchaser.
Using Google Analytics data, product attributes, location information and Hanes.com customer reviews, teams worked during the course of 12 days to develop a comprehensive understanding of the problem and identify actionable solutions. Teams presented their analyses and recommendations to a panel of HanesBrands executives who evaluated the presentations on quality of solution, methodology/modeling and quality of presentation delivery.
“The Elon Champion Analytics Challenge was an excellent opportunity to expand our knowledge in data mining, specifically on explanatory models,” said Fabio Brigagão, a member of the first-place team. “Experiences like this push students to be curious and pursue skills which might not fall upon their curriculum or school.”
“HanesBrands International provided a unique opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience working in analytics in a competitive environment and obtain valuable feedback regarding a substantive problem many companies face,” said Rochelle Ford, dean of the School of Communications. “This experience is not only a resume-builder, but a real opportunity to test employable skills of collaboration, oral communication, visualization of data and information, problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, multicultural and interdisciplinary thinking and more.”
Fabio Brigagão ’19, management (business analytics) major
Alejandro Ramos ’19, strategic communications major
Brendan Hawkins ’19, information science major
Mentor: Mostafa Mesgari, assistant professor for management information systems
Sebastiano Coperchini ’19, international business dual-degree student
Nicolas Resusta ’19, international business dual-degree student
Clarance Mourot ’19, international business dual-degree student
Mentor: Adam Aiken, assistant professor of finance
Sara (Petra) Castedo Farias ’21, finance and computer science double major
Adam Behrman ’21, computer science major
Sajnee Thakkar ’20, computer science major
Mentor: Brooks Depro, assistant professor of economics
“This was the second year we ran the analytics challenge, and we are so happy we had students from multiple schools at Elon working together to solve business problems,” said Assistant Professor Mostafa Mesgari, who co-chaired the challenge with Associate Professor Haya Ajjan. “We are also grateful for our partnership with HanesBrands Inc. to bring state-of-the-art challenges to our students every year.”
In addition to cash prizes, the first-place team will present their findings to HanesBrands executives at the company’s headquarters in Winston Salem, N.C., later this year, and will receive sponsorship to participate in a national analytics case competition in New York City next spring.
The challenge’s prizes were sponsored by the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, Elon College, and the School of Communications.
The Elon Center for Organizational Analytics serves as a hub to bring together faculty, students and industry thought leaders to disseminate best analytics practices, solve organizational problems, and promote teaching, outreach and research in the area of analytics. The Center accomplishes this through student projects, consulting and professional training to demonstrate how analytics can be used to provide solutions for problems faced by organizations today.