Student team demonstrates sports analytics expertise at MIT Hackathon

3.8.2019 Article, Business Analytics, General, M.S. in Business Analytics, School News, Science/Technology

By Stephanie Skordas, Sr. Associate Director, Communications

Andrew Bowers (MSBA ’19), Sebastian Fischbach (BA ’18, MSBA ’19), and Muhammad Ammar (MSBA ’19) were selected as finalists for the 2019 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Hackathon held Feb. 28- Mar. 2. They were given Women’s Tennis Association data and challenged to create a digital experience focused on fan engagement. Industry leaders in the sports analytics space served as the judging panel. Six teams were chosen for the finals to present in one of two categories: user experience or gamification. The Wake Forest MSBA team was a top three finalist.

“We presented our business solution as part of the user experience competition,” said Ammar. “We showed how well we can work under pressure and were proud of what we achieved in such a short time. It was the best possible stress we could ever experience, and we drew on the knowledge we gained in the MSB A program.”

When Associate Dean of Business Analytics Jeff Camm asked the team what their secret was to get to the finals, Andrew Bowers replied “After the initial briefing, almost all other teams began coding immediately. Instead, we tracked down the sponsors and asked questions to make sure we better understood their expectations and requirements.”

Camm said, “This is a cornerstone of our MSBA program – – defining the problem is the critical step. Like a good doctor, a good analyst asks probing questions that go beyond symptoms to the root cause.”

This isn’t the first time the team has worked together on a sports analytics solution. Learn more about their work with Wake Forest Athletics.