A Determined MSBAPM Team Wins Hard-Fought Travelers Analytics Case Competition
Extra research, attention to detail, and a lively presentation boosted an MSBAPM team from Hartford to a championship in a hard-fought, three-month, four-round Travelers Analytics Case Competition.
The students, who were all pursuing a master’s degree in Business Analytics and Project Management, said the competition served as almost a capstone project, proving what they have learned and what they can accomplish.
The winning team included Zong He ’17, Xin “Amy” Ni ’16 and Jun Sun ’16. All of the participants graduated in December, except He who is completing his final semester. Original teammate Julie Shih ’16 was unable to attend the final event, but contributed significantly to the team’s victory, they said.
The event pitted upwards of 75 teams from UConn and UMass in an exciting challenge, which began in October and ran through December. The winning students were invited to a job-shadowing day at Travelers in January.
The students were presented with real auto insurance data and had to analyze it, build a predictive model, assess costs and look for business value.
“We wanted to know how much we learned from our program and whether we had the ability to handle a whole project by ourselves,’ He said. “We proved our two years of hard work was greatly worthwhile!”
“We could win nothing without our program’s faculty, so we decided to donate our trophy to our program,” He said. “We are so grateful to our program for what it has done for us. We prefer to say that our program won the championship!”
Meghan Hanrahan, associate director of the MSBAPM program, said the BAPM students continue to represent UConn well in the field of analytics.
“These types of out-of-the-classroom opportunities continue to be a priority to our program, to enhance the overall student experience,” she said, adding that the program is appreciative of The Travelers Companies for sponsoring such a rigorous competition for the students.
“We all felt that we just did a little bit better than the other teams. And all those small “a little bits” accumulated and converted to the big difference in the end,” Sun said. “We did a bit more extensive research, spend a bit more time, paid a bit more attention.”
“This experience also reminds us the importance of having a simple and appealing presentation,” he said, noting that some competitors’ demonstrations were “like a boring math class.”
“This championship is definitely a highlight of our UConn education,” he said, adding that the team formed deep friendships as a result of the experience.
For teammate Ni, the championship gives her greater confidence as she enters the field. She also realized the importance of persistence and hard work. Ni said the team did not have the lead after the first round, but polished their work on certain insurance theories and moved up the ranks.
She credited her teammates for bringing a wide variety of knowledge and talent, which led to great discussions and a creative advantage.
“I felt confident in the final presentation,” Ni said. “Our team had the highest accuracy among all the teams and we built the right model for this case.”
“Without a doubt I was very excited the moment when Patrick Buckley, the manager of the Advanced Analytics Leadership Development Program at Travelers, announced our team was the champion. I could not stop smiling after that moment. I also took a lot of pictures with the trophy. This championship is a milestone of my analytics study and future work. It gives me the confidence to go deep in this field.”