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Data Analytics Students Tackle Real-World Business Problems, Network with Alumni in 2024 Crossroads Classic Analytics Challenge

Crossroads Classic Analytics Challenge logo and University of Indianapolis logo

Written by Troi Watts

Data analytics students at the University of Indianapolis are teaming up to tackle the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA) 2024 Crossroads Classic Analytics Challenge. This is the first time UIndy has participated in the statewide competition. 

Established in 2021, the Crossroads Classic Analytics Challenge offers Hoosier college students the opportunity to tackle and find solutions to real-world business problems. This year’s challenge asks students to use real world customer data from the NCAA, along with external data, to predict whether or not a customer will purchase a ticket to Division I Women’s Basketball championships, with the goal of increasing ticket sales. 

UIndy is represented by three teams of students – one composed of students in the Master of Science in Data Analytics (MSDA) program and two teams of undergraduate School of Business students – under the mentorship of Dr. Alli Snyder, assistant professor of data analytics.

The Challenge is the latest example of how UIndy provides its students with experiential applied learning opportunities while also serving the community, in a true testament to “education for service.” 

“The amazing part of experiential applied learning projects like this is, of course, working with real world data, business problems, and clients as we do throughout our curriculum, but it is also being a member of something bigger,” said Snyder. “It is amazing to see our data knowledge and skills used to make a difference and benefit others. For example, we have had other applied projects in the past that had real world benefits, such as our work to help improve health outcomes for mothers and babies in Indiana. Anytime that I can find projects that benefit others, I get my students involved.”

In addition to Snyder’s leadership, the teams are also gaining valuable insights and coaching from MSDA alumnus Bukenya Lawrence, who participated in a number of data challenges during his studies at UIndy and currently works as Senior Systems Engineer, Data Analyst at Cummins Inc.

“We are proud to have alums like Lawrence who are assets to their organization, community, and to future data leaders,” said Snyder.

The teams will submit their findings for review by a panel of judges, who determine which teams will continue on to the final round. All teams in the final round will give presentations to the NCAA at their national headquarters in downtown Indianapolis. The Challenge offers $10,000 in prizes to the top three teams, and the winning team will receive championship rings.

Visit the Crossroads Classic Analytics Challenge website to learn more about the valuable experience it offers students and to view updates on the teams.