19 teams from the National University of Singapore (NUS) participated in the inaugural CFLD (China Fortune Land Development)-NUS Business Analytics Innovation Challenge 2017. The objective of the challenge was for students to design a solution combining innovative data sourcing and creative machine learning application to evaluate land prices in at least one of the following cities: Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Mumbai and Manila.
The champions were Team Outliers, a team from the NUS Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) programme.
Team Outliers was extremely thankful to the supportive mentors from NUS MSBA and the CFLD and humbly credited their success in this competition to them.
“We used more unconventional sources such as twitter data, news based articles and tied it in with structured data on top of detailed market research, which most likely gave our solution the edge,” Sudharsan Ganesh from Outliers shared.
Team mate Rahul Dey added, “I am actually from a technical background (a programmer), and all the analytics techniques that we used in our solution were entirely learnt from the MSBA programme. Without being in the MSBA programme, I would not have been able to approach this problem.”
During the challenge period, participants were introduced to different data mining techniques to come up with innovative solutions to evaluate land prices as part of the mentor sessions.
By using creative machine learning applications and data sourcing, teams came up with commendable solutions to the problem statement.
After a rigorous 2.5 months, 8 teams were shortlisted to pitch their solutions to a distinguished panel of judges consisting of Mr Colin Zhu, GM, Strategy and Research of CFLD; Mr Koon Kok Kwong, VP, Industry Development Business Group of CFLD; Mr Larry Wang, VP, Strategy and Research of CFLD; Professor James Pang, Co-Director of NUS Business Analytics Centre; and Mr Quek Khor Ping, Visiting Senior Fellow at NUS.
All of the finalists proposed promising solutions that targeted difficulties in discovering under-appreciated areas with great growth potential, particularly in establishing models to rank factors that contribute to increasing land value. It was evident that competition was stiff, making it tough for the judges to decide.
Following intense deliberation, the winners were announced, and two teams made up of students from the Master of Science in Business Analytics programme teams, Outliers and Fantastic Four clinched the top and third prize respectively, while undergraduate team EzInvest, emerged as second place.
Debosmita Chaudhuri from Fantastic Four said, “The MSBA programme really helped our team to think analytically and question our first instincts as although they might look easy at first glance, they may not be the right thing.”
She added, “I really gained a lot from the challenge as the questions asked by the knowledgeable judges were very relevant and insightful. Their questions gave us a different perspective and taught us how to ask the right questions.”
Being the youngest group taking part in the challenge, EzInvest which comprises Year 3 and 4 undergraduates from NUS School of Computing, Bachelor of Business Analytics, was excited at their win.
“We joined this challenge as we enjoy using data to find new insights and solving problems. We were able to use data analytics theories that we learnt in school and apply them to real world problems,” Jie Da from EzInvest shared.
For more information on the NUS Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) programme, please visit http://msba.nus.edu/.