Author: pav14008

Alteryx Data Challenge (By Hao Zhu & Yingqi Yang)

Hao & Yingqi, Fall-2014 graduate of MS BAPM shared their experience on Alteryx Data Challenge:

What a great excitement it was to win the first place in the Alteryx Data Challenge! As is known to every participant, the competition was quite an exhausting experience. We spent almost two days searching online and finally decided to work on a dataset about adult diabetes. Then we put even more effort on data exploration and cleaning. For example, we used tools in the Alteryx software to explore the data, trying to find out any patterns, distributions and correlations of variables. After finishing all these, we managed to get a better understanding of the data, so the next step was to sample the data and build models.

The most challenging part in the process was that the Alteryx platform was completely new to us, meaning that we had to try our best to get familiar with the software while attempting to model the data at the same time. That was easier said than done. Fortunately, the software is quite versatile and user-friendly. It helped us deliver a satisfactory solution in the end. Overall, my team agrees that it was a very rewarding learning experience. It not only tested our understanding of business analysis but also gave us an opportunity to connect with the business world.

Currently, my team is working on our poster for the Inspire 2015 Conference. We will get a chance to share our experience with the participants at the conference from the industry and academia. I feel that it would be a great honor for us and the MSBAPM program. My team is eagerly looking forward to the conference.

Python Workshop


Memorial weekend at UConn School of Business came with an informative workshop on Python Programming Language, by Dylan Blanchard on Thursday, May 21, 2015. The best thing about this workshop was it did not assume any previous experience with Python and started with introduction and basics, covering a major part of Analytics.

The enlightening workshop was about the introduction of Python, including how to install IPython notebook, and the popularity. It explained about the basic functions, like how to define the data type and simple function creation techniques. Not just this, but an interesting feature it taught us was about how to import a data-set from a website. And then the workshop covered the modeling part explaining about logistic regression, decision tree and principle component analysis models and finally how to analyse, evaluate and score the models.

Overall it was a brief interactive introduction of Python and its application in Analytics Industry and students found it quite an informational workshop.

May Graduation Ceremony 2015

A very warm and overwhelming goodbye to the students who graduated in May this year; we wish them a flourishing career and a prosperous life ahead. The Graduation Ceremony was enthralling not just for the students graduating in May, but also for the current MSBAPM students who attended the event.

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The students who graduated were awarded with different funny and interesting titles like:

  1. Excellence in Group Work – Yinghui Ye
  2. Loch Ness Award – Yiyao Zhang
  3. Foot in Mouth Award – Emily Hill
  4. Wikipedia Award – Stanley L Nolan
  5. Smart Cookie – Shan Zhou
  6. Firecracker Award – Snehal Joshi
  7. Puzzle Poser Award – Yiyao Zhang
  8. Class Best Friend Award – SrikanthVarma Tirumalaraju
  9. Busy Bee Award – Wei Sheng Liao
  10. Above and Beyond Award – Shranish Joshi
  11. LOL Award – Michael Harvey Levesque
  12. Future Detective Award – Carl Lee Dean
  13. Class Fashionista Award – Mengfei Yang
  14. Class Statistician Award – Robert Alan Riccio
  15. LifeSaver Award – Xing Wang
  16. Dewey Decimal Award – Si Qin
  17. Carpe Diem Award – Steven Theodore Brown
  18. Duct Tape Award – Sai Madhukar Srinivasa
  19. Swiss Army Knife Award – Joydeep Banerjee
  20. Grandma’s Dumpling Award – Neha Kamineni
  21. Technology Wizard Award – Ivan Theobalds
  22. It’s 5 O’clock somewhere Award – Hema Sree Kamineni

After an entertaining round of awards, it got even more interesting when faculties got awarded with a couple of amusing and interesting titles like:

  1. Is It A Yes Or No Award – Prof. Alpesh Kumar Tailor
  2. Most Assignments Award – Prof. Xin Xin Li and so on.

John A. Elliott, the Dean of UConn School of Business wished the students good luck and spoke about the journey of students here at UConn and our new Graduate Career Advisor, Katherine Duncan, was officially welcomed and introduced to the MSBAPM program during the ceremony.

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After the speech by the Dean, dinner was served and the bar was opened up for drinks and socializing. There was an elegant spread of entrees, mains and desserts and a fine assortment of red and white wines and beers. Cheery conversations filled the room. Graduating students, professors and other attendees seemed to thoroughly utilize the networking opportunity. Everybody was seen clicking pictures with friends and colleagues to memorialize this day.

The students and the faculties said a warm and amicable goodbye to students who graduated with kind words, and capturing a few memorable moments with graduate students. A few graduate students expressed their memories at UConn School of Business and expressed about their awesome journey at UConn not just because it helped them shape their careers but also because they had an amazing time with students and faculties during their learning experience at UConn. It was overall a great networking event for the students and the faculties.

AETNA Networking Info-Session

The networking info-session with AETNA, one of the biggest health care and insurance companies in the United States, was about how Aetna drives the change and innovation in the field of Analytics and the skills required for team working in IT Analytics department. In this info-session, Joe Foley, the Senior Director- IT Analytics, shared how Aetna is using Analytics to develop business solutions, key tools used in Analytics, big data and the job responsibilities in the field on IT Analytics. Aetna wants to use Analytics to focus on software development and testing, and use machine learning to identify business problems. He tells that there are huge business opportunities in Analytics and since 2009, Aetna has been very successful in IT projects and have reduced the rate of post implementation defects from 20% to 8%. He shared his unique experience developing models during the implementation of his projects and he spoke about decision tree and regression model using excel. He explained how a model uses predictive variables and explained the real world practical problems that we have to deal with. He shared a very informative insight about the key tools used when and where:

Predictive Modeling:
Primary Tool: R
Secondary Tool(s): SAS, Python

Data Visualization:
Primary Tool: Tableau
Secondary Tool: R, SAS, Python

Data Wrangling:
Primary Tool: Python, Java
Secondary Tool: Hive, Pig, R

Interestingly, Joe mentioned that they are actively interviewing for 2 full time positions in the field of IT Analytics for students graduating in May 2015 and he also mentioned the job responsibilities for the positions. Overall, the event was very informative and gave us a good insight about IT Analytics department at Aetna.


MSBAPM & Alteryx Data Challenge

Alteryx partnered with the Business Analytics and Project Management program (MSBAPM) at the University of Connecticut – School of Business to host a data challenge. The Data Challenge kicked off on March 30th, 2015 with a presentation and tool-tutorial by the Alteryx team at GBLC. We had Neil Ryan, Garth Miles – Content Engineering Manager, Jim Schattin – Solutions Engineering and Training, to take students through details of the challenge, as well as provide hands-on Alteryx training, from data acquisition to analytics to visualization. This was 3-hour interactive session. The deadline for project submission was determined to be April 6th, 2015 with final judging on campus on April 10th, 2015. Finalists were selected to present to a distinguished panel of judges including Dan Putler, Chief Scientist; Amy Holland, Vice President of Content & Applications; Jim Schattin, Senior Director of Solutions Engineering and Training; and Garth Miles, Manager of Content Engineering.

MSBAPM students from Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 ardently took part in the challenge to design processes that analyze, model and visualize datasets using the Alteryx software. Teams picked data from various categories and sources like Kaggle, Amazon Web Services, Google Web Services, Twitter, etc. to design and predict business outcomes.

The six finalists chosen to present their projects were Data Huskies, Data Knights, Dylan Blanchard, The A Team, OmgData and Outback. The event kicked-off with Data Huskies showcasing their project creating a scoring model to rate the credit card companies on how well they are handling the complaints. The model provided a decision support system to assist customer on choosing the rights product. The second team, the Data knights, performed Sentiment Analysis on recent tweets gathered from Twitter on various topics and scored the overall polarity and general sentiment of US states toward the topics. They visualized their results on Tableau and generated a word cloud of sentiments. Third participant, Dylan Blanchard used google location services to capture his location through a period of four weeks to predict his weekly schedule by the use of cluster analyses. The fourth team, The A Team, showcased an app, which they named the Alteryx Detective, to detect unauthorized and suspicious activity in user accounts. They made use of data blending and mathematical tools available on Alteryx to calculate exact locations of events and captured time stamps to detect anomalies in user activities. Fifth team to present was OmgData who analyzed Walmart store sales in the past and created an app to predict future sales of stores, using some of the predictive modeling tools on Alteryx and time series forecasting. Final team, the Outback team, presented their project on Predictive Analyses on Adult Diabetes to predict the current trends in the United States. They analyzed estimated data and modeled it using the best fit to match the actual results of current situation of adult diabetes in United States. They presented a good demonstration of their app.

The judges seemed extremely impressed by the quality and detail of work presented to them. They asked questions after each presentation and commended the teams on the highlights of their projects. The judges announced the winners of the MSBAPM & Alteryx Data Challenge. Third place went to Dylan Blanchard for predicting his weekly schedules using Google location services. The second place went to The A Team for Alteryx Detective and the first place was taken by the Outback for Predictive Analysis on Adult Diabetes. It was a great end to the event and well deserved by the winning teams. The grand prize of $1000 was awarded to Hao Zhu and YingQi Yang of the Outback. The team was invited to display their project poster at Inspire 2015, Alteryx’s annual analytics conference. The A Team won admission to Inspire 2015. All the three winning teams earned interviews for open positions at Alteryx.

VLink Scholarshop Award Ceremony & Networking Event

VLink Scholarship Award Ceremony brought smiles to handful of diligent students, who worked really hard and gave an outstanding performance in academics in Fall 2014. More than 15 students were entitled to get scholarship from VLink and students got informative insights from Dr. Grover. The award ceremony cum networking event was enthralling! Kudos to our MS-BAPM Students!

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March 15 Newsletter

In this newsletter, you will be reading a review about the MIT Sloan Sport Analytics Conference, a recap of an interview with Sohil Gala, NY Jets speaker, our upcoming partnership with Alteryx for a Data Challenge and more. In addition, get to know our faculty and students by reading our faculty and student spotlights.


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April 15 Newsletter

Greetings! We are excited to share our MSBAPM April Newsletter!

In this issue, you will be reading which team won the MSBAPM-Alteryx Data Challenge, a review of “Hadoop’s small files problem”, a look into what our recently BAPM Alumni are doing, VLink Scholars and more.



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