L to R: Yufeng (Louis) Wang, Frank Li, Zhihan (Kay) Gao, Nikhil Chalakkal, Xiaoya (Amber) Wan. Not pictured: Steven Blackmon and Phani Uppu

In late November, several Master of Science in Business Analytics students participated in the 2017 Atlanta Health Data Challenge.

The eight-hour challenge, hosted by Deloitte Consulting along with Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, Task Force for Global Health, American Immunization Registry Association and the Metro Atlanta Chamber, required students to develop creative and innovative solutions using data to address the immunity gaps for measles, rubella and HPV.

Approximately 60 aspiring data scientists from all over the country came to Atlanta to work together with a common goal, share ideas and deliver real value.

MSBA students competed on varying teams throughout the day, focusing their attention on different team initiatives and projects.

Xiaoya (Amber) Wan 18MSBA, who has a background in social work, was a member of the winning team and brought home $600.

“This was the best day of Thanksgiving — using data to solve the world’s problems,” Wan said.

Additionally, Nikhil Chalakkal 18MSBA was on a team that took second place, winning $300. The judges complimented his team on their novel marketing approach to the HPV vaccine, stating that the vaccine was really a step forward in cancer prevention and that middle schools should be rewarded with a gold, silver or bronze medal for their school’s HPV vaccination rate.

Taking third place and winning $100 was Frank Li and his team. Their Random Forest technique for determining logistic factors hooked the judges for their out-of-the-box approach. 

“The event was intense with 600 variables and less than eight hours to run the numbers and present — scary, but a good kind of scary,” Li said.

Other MSBA students participating were Steven Blackmon, Phani Uppu, Zhihan (Kay) Gao and Yufeng (Louis) Wang.