On Saturday, Nov. 9, student teams came from colleges and universities around the country to participate in the fourth-annual MinneMUDAC Student Data Science Challenge at Optum in Eden Prairie. A total of 71 teams across three divisions presented their results to 150 volunteer judges. The event is designed to give students real-world experience working with data and communicating their results while competing for cash prizes.
This year’s challenge required students to analyze a variety of data to predict trends in soybean prices. Teams were evaluated based on a number of factors, including data preparation, team synergy, and communication of results. Teams in the Undergraduate and Graduate divisions were also scored on the accuracy of their predictions. The challenge and data were curated by Farm Femmes.
“We firmly believe that investing in the next generation grows the future,” said Karen Hildebrand, Co-Founder of Farm Femmes. “Some days the seeds we plant are literal as farmers, but MinneMUDAC gave us the opportunity to grow the knowledge of agriculture and agtech.”
After the initial judging round in the morning, the top teams from each division advanced to the finals round in the auditorium. After the scores were tallied, prizes were then awarded in each division for First Place Overall, Analytic Acumen, and Serendipitous Discovery.
“We were very impressed by so many students,” said Hildebrand. “There were many who we judged individually who did not make it to the finals whose discoveries made us think of new ways we could run our business.”
More teams competed this year than in any previous MinneMUDAC competition, with teams traveling from as far away as Boston University to participate. The high turnout meant more volunteer judges were needed to evaluate the teams and 150 professionals from the community came to share their time and experience.
“We had a record number of not only women but all-women teams this year,” said Dan Atkins, MinneAnalytics co-founder and an organizer of the challenge. “Four of the Graduate division teams were all female, including a winning team. The Novice division also had an all-woman team winner.”
Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s challenge! Special thanks to all the volunteers who served as judges. MinneMUDAC is presented by MinneAnalytics and the Midwest Undergraduate Data Analytics Competition (MUDAC).
Novice Division Finalists
Undergraduate Division Finalists
Graduate Division Finalists
Serendipitous Discovery: University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management (team Data Vaders)
Sai Akhil Kodali, Anisha Mula, Vijay Ranjan Dhulipala, Sampada Sathe, Mainak Roy
Faculty Advisor: Edward McFowland III