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Villanova Students Earn Best Insight Award at DataFest Philly 2018

Villanova students earn Best Insight at DataFest Philly 2018

Indeed is the No. 1 job site in the world. With more than 200 million unique monthly visitors, 100 million resumes, 72 million company ratings and reviews and 9.8 jobs added per second globally, the site generates an abundance of data—all the requirements for a weekend of data dives and analyses. Four Villanova students took on the challenge and won "Best Insight" at the 2018 ASA DataFest Philadelphia competition.

DataFest Philly is part of the national American Statistical Association DataFest, a 48-hour case competition where teams of two to five students receive a rich, complex dataset from a large company and analyze it for insights. This program takes data analysis beyond the constraints of a typical classroom setting by enabling students to work with real-world data as a team—uniting students in statistics, computer science, engineering, mathematics, social science and other fields for an intense weekend of data wrangling and analysis.

The event was organized by Villanova’s Center for Statistics Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences under the direction of Michael Posner, PhD. This year, Villanova University hosted DataFest Philly for the second consecutive year and included students from Temple University, Ursinus College and Villanova. The event kicked off in the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Institute’s Idea Accelerator. University professors and local professionals joined the students to offer expert advice throughout the competition.

Once they received the data, Data Team Six, a Villanova team comprised of Elizabeth Ryan ’19 CLAS, Demetrios Papakostas ’18 CLAS, Thomas Longo ’19 CLAS and Vincent Mutolo ’19 CLAS, immediately developed a three-pronged strategy. First, they laid out a plan of attack for each day. Second, they developed an efficient way to share analyses with each other and work as a team.

“The third strategy that we employed was focusing on a specific issue, and we decided that this was going to be how to make Indeed more money,” Thomas said. “We approached the assignment as if we were consultants for the company.”

The team found that states with the most job postings also had the most postings with no clicks, and found a similar trend in densely populated counties. These areas were completely saturated with job postings, and essentially there were not enough people to click on all of them. The team suggested Indeed set a limit of postings in certain areas in order to maximize clicks and profit.

Along with the "Best Insight" award for their analysis and presentation, the Villanova students received a free membership to the ASA—offering professional development and networking opportunities with world’s largest community of statisticians. DataFest offered students real-world exposure, insight from industry experts and best practices for group work. Data Team Six agreed that getting creative with the data was exciting but working as a team was the most rewarding aspect of the competition.

“Sometimes working with big data among multiple people can be challenging, but our team did a great job of sharing the workload, the insights and the data manipulation codes along the way,” Elizabeth said.