Data analytics isn’t just the realm of high-tech industries any more. It’s making inroads into a wide variety of organizations, from financial firms to sports teams to medical institutions. One sign of the times is that New York City recently passed a bill to make the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics a permanent part of city government, according to StateScoop.
It was against this backdrop that the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) held its second annual Analytics Accelerator Challenge. Companies of all stripes submitted their marketing analytics problems for a chance to have a Wharton/University of Pennsylvania student team come up with solutions. At the end, the chosen organizations are presented with data analytics coding, models, and tools they can apply going forward.This year, 30 firms applied and four were selected: The Barnes Foundation, a museum; Fuel Cycle, a market research firm; Hachette Book Group, a publishing company; and Reed Smith, a law firm. Of the 200 students who applied, 24 were chosen. They ranged from undergraduates to MBAs to post-docs, and hailed not only from Wharton but other disciplines at the University of Pennsylvania such as engineering and computational biology. Teams were given only four weeks to meet their goals.