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MSBAIM Students Take Second Place in Analytics Case Competition


A team of students from the Krannert School of Management’s MS in Business Analytics and Information Management (MSBAIM) program recently won second place and $3,500 at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Graduate Business Analytics Case Competition.

The team consisted of Paul Chen, Alejandro Cuenca, Mike Jonelis, and Piper Doyle, who also won for best presenter. “We had a great time representing Purdue in a competition against students from some of the country’s best business analytics programs,” Doyle said.

The competition was sponsored by Fastenal, a Minnesota-based global manufacturing and supply chain logistics company, which provided data to the students and asked them to find trends and correlations in the freight and market sectors in relation to North American economic trends. Teams performed a deep-dive analysis and considered multiple data points before making their recommendations to a panel of industry experts.

“There were two approaches we could have taken: a more technical approach with complex models using sophisticated software or a simpler approach using easy-to-understand methods in Excel,” Doyle said. “While the other teams in finals opted for the technical approach, we placed second overall using the simpler approach. We were successful because we were able to engage everyone in our analysis, while more technical approaches excluded those who don’t have an analytics background.” 

“We were pleased to offer an opportunity to contribute to student’s learning, build some brand recognition, and witness so many innovative ideas from teams that can be quickly implemented,” said Troy Parkos, regional vice president at Fastenal.

“We felt we had the right team of data professionals on our side and right problems to create a compelling statement and data,” added Brian Keeling, director of business intelligence at Fastenal.

The competition was Doyle’s fourth while at Purdue. “I have learned that case competitions allow you to be creative in your problem-solving,” Doyle said.  “In case competitions, you want to have the ‘best’ answer and you want your solution to stand out. It requires creative thinking to accomplish a solution that meets those requirements.”