The 2022 SAS Curiosity Cup won by IÉSEG students

We have met the winning team of the 2022 SAS Curiosity Cup, composed of Carla Challita from Lebanon, Dilda Zhaksybek from Kazakhstan, Pedro Romaninfante from the Dominican Republic, and Juliana Sanchez Ramirez from Colombia – they are all students in the Master in Big Data Analytics for Business at IÉSEG, of which SAS has been a key partner for years. Let’s learn more about their experience!

Can you tell us a few words about the competition?

The SAS Curiosity Cup is a competition among international universities and Business Schools whose purpose is to motivate students to use SAS and come up with insights on topics of their interest. It brings student teams together from across the globe for a competition of real-world analytics skills. SAS suggested us to use one of their products and we could choose a topic that we were interested in. This group project tested our knowledge of data science and analytics. In total, 93 teams participated in the competition with 18 different countries represented. Each team had a faculty advisor to support its project (Arno De Caigny  in our case). We submitted our project on January 31st and we then had to prepare a video explaining all the steps of our work and the results. About a month after that, they revealed the winners.

For our part, we decided to analyze the influence of Netflix shows on European tourism. The idea was to examine whether tourism increases after the successful release of a movie or a show on Netflix in the country where it was filmed. Watch our video here to see the results of our analysis.

Why did you decide to take part in this competition?

The competition came at the time when we were taking SAS classes at IÉSEG. As part of the course, Grégoire De Lassence, a professional from SAS, came to give a presentation about the company and how to use the platform in different ways. We found the presentation interesting and that motivated us to try it out by ourselves and join the competition. We were eight people from IÉSEG to participate in total, divided into two groups. We all filled out a survey to tell a bit about our own experience and then, our class representative did a random grouping to ensure that all profiles were mixed as some of us had more of a technical background and others a business background.

What have you learned from this competition?

We were not too acquainted with the SAS product that we used – SAS Viya. So, we learned how to use it, which was quite easy in the end. It is a great tool to build dashboards and handle data. We also learned to find data from other sources as the main sources may sometimes not be sufficient for leading to a conclusion. This competition also allowed us to work on our communication skills and to develop our teamwork experience.

How did your studies at IÉSEG help you with winning this competition?

First, we learned how to work with SAS at IÉSEG and not many participants had experience with SAS so, that definitely helped us a lot. Apart from the SAS course, we also were helped by the several projects we had conducted in other courses such as Business Analysis. We can say that it is a combination of several courses that prepared us to win, among which we can mention Communication Skills and Business Reporting Tools.

On the other end, the competition helped us in being reassured with the knowledge we had of SAS. After all, we only had a class for SAS that lasted about two months but we were quite confident that we knew how to code with SAS from medium to high level, and this competition definitely confirmed that. Now we know that, as students on an international level, we are very competitive in the market, which is an important thing for us to know.

How will you value this experience in your future career? How do you think that can help you for later?

The mindset that we have developed thanks to this competition will help us in the future in achieving any challenges that may come our way. Moreover, SAS is being used by several companies, especially in the banking and the insurance industries. So, knowing how to use SAS can be helpful for the future. Winning this competition is also, of course, an added value to our CV. Also, the idea of measuring tourism against the popularity of Netflix shows was a random hypothesis; in the future, when we have to work with random data, we will always remember this experience and it will definitively comfort us in dealing with random data in a professional way.

How did you feel about winning this competition?

We were amazed and very surprised at the same time, considering the number of teams that participated, we didn’t expect to win, even though we put a lot of effort into it and participated with the intention of winning. For the record, we realized that we won only a week after because the email had gone to the junk emails!
Thanks to this win, we obtained:

– 12 months of access to the SAS Academy for Data Science
– SAS digital badge acknowledging winner status
– One SAS certification exam voucher
– One SAS training course voucher
– SAS-branded merchandise

How did you do to make this win happen?

We worked together on a regular basis as if it was one of our School projects. Thanks to all the projects that we have to conduct through our program, we were really used to work in teams efficiently.

Any advice for a future participant?

If you have the opportunity and are able to take part in a competition like this one, you should go for it! Regardless of whether you win or not, it is still an experience and an added value for your CV. You will always learn something along the way.

Master in Big Data Analytics for Business

  • Duration : 2 years
  • Language : English
  • Next intake: September
  • Campus : Lille