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2nd UC Davis Data Hackathon Kicks Off
Sunrun and Barco will pose challenges for 24-hour analytics contest in April

The second annual UC Davis Data Hackathon organized by Master of Science in Business Analytics students launched in San Francisco with a workshop series to prepare for the 24-hour competition in April.

Executive Director Amy Russell described the hackathon as an opportunity for graduate students throughout Northern California to practice and showcase their analytic skills and business acumen. They participants will have 24 hours to solve real-world business issues posed by our  corporate partners.

Russell said it is also a “great way that the university can support employers as we help them cultivate relationships with up-and-coming analytics talent in this highly competitive hiring marketplace.”

The UC Davis Data Hackathon kicked off its second year, doubling down on the students’ analytics challenge.

At a kick-off event at Sunrun’s San Francisco headquarters on January 29, the UC Davis M.S. in Business Analytics program introduced participants to guest speakers and the event format in a lead-up to the 24-hour Data Hackathon on April 9-10.

Anish Patankar, vice president for product management at BarcoBen Lorica, the chief data scientist at O'Reilly Media and the Strata program chairStudents in the data hackathonIntroducing StrataRohan Ranshinge MSBA 19Samuel Grausz, Senior Director, Strategy and Business Intelligence, SunrunPanel of experts discuss data challenges in tech

Two of the cases partners, Sunrun and Barco, shared high-level company highlights. O’Reilly Media and the Strata Data Conference are sponsoring the event and also presented insights into analytics.  Participants also got to hear advice from one of last year’s hackathon winners, MSBA alumna Shreya Surana, who is currently working as a Data Analyst at Sojern.

Samuel Grausz, the senior director of strategy and business intelligence at Sunrun, set the tone for the hackathon as he elaborated on the solar electricity provider’s mission to “create a planet run by the sun,” in pursuit of a society good at the end of the data trail.

Anish Patankar, vice president for product management at Barco, then “delved into the lengths and breadths” of tech products the visualization and collaboration company is pioneering, as one participant noted.

Ben Lorica, the chief data scientist at O’Reilly Media and the Strata program chair, broke down his code for the today’s biggest breakthroughs in what he referred to as “ABC technologies,” which is AI + Big Data + Cloud.

Sanjay Saigal, the MSBA director of analytics strategy, called this revelation the “most why-didn’t-I-think-of-it-first buzzword of the hackathon.” And the buzz has only just begun for this series of events.

The MSBA Directors’ Student Advisory Council is organizing the hackathon.

Graduate students from across Northern California are encouraged to enter the hackathon. More information will be shared soon on how to become a participant.

“I’m looking forward to what 60-plus business analytics students from Bay Area universities will create,” said Saigal. “A wonderful aspect of the UC Davis MSBA program location in San Francisco is collaborating with innovative industry partners like these.”