Super Analytics Challenge
Graduate Students Succeed as Catalysts for Change
Graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh continued their annual tradition of serving as catalysts for change through the 2022 Super Analytics Challenge, hosted by the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. Seven teams leveraged business skills to address the complex issues of food insecurity and hunger in the Pittsburgh region during the challenge from February 11-18.
This year’s winning team, Team 2, of Pitt students included: Taylor Robinson of the School of Public Health; Rachael Agnello of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences; and William Hoffenkamp, Bhavya Mehta, and Yuyao Wu of the Katz Graduate School of Business. Read about the competition and judging in this article and get the full details about the 2022 challenge below.
2022 Challenge Case on Food Insecurity
Food insecurity is defined by Feeding America as a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life, and is one way that experts can measure and assess the risk of hunger in each community. Hunger and health are deeply connected, and so the effects of chronic hunger can be profound.
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is a contributing corporate sponsor of the 2022 Super Analytics Challenge.
Pitt Graduate Students Tackle Food Insecurity and Hunger in Second Annual Super Analytics Challenge; Winning Team to be Chosen Feb. 18
The University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, in partnership with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, is pleased to announce the Second Annual Super Analytics Challenge.
“We are excited to have an opportunity to partner with the Katz Graduate School of Business to challenge students to dedicate their creativity, ingenuity, and dedication to becoming catalysts of change in our three rivers region,” said Lisa Scales, president and CEO of the Food Bank. “We are thrilled that this year’s Super Analytics Challenge is focused on food insecurity, and we look forward to learning from the students as they tackle this complex issue. The Challenge is a dynamic process, and we expect that it will have a meaningful impact on ensuring all our neighbors have enough food to eat.”
Following last year’s focus on homelessness, 35 graduate students from across the university are divided into seven teams. They will leverage their business skills and data acumen to develop innovative ideas around food insecurity and hunger in the Pittsburgh region. The challenge will formally run from February 11-18, 2022, with the public invited to view the final judging via Zoom.
“Our team at Pitt Business worked alongside Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to examine food insecurity in our region” says Christopher Barlow, Director of Corporate Engagement and Career Services for Katz. “The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated this issue across the globe, and Pitt students are eager to begin developing solutions to help.”
Throughout the Super Analytics Challenge, the seven teams will frame a high-impact question, create a data methodology, and generate an operable solution. According to Andrew Hannah, Adjunct Professor and Executive in Residence for Pitt Business, solutions will be judged based on “the depth of their analytical thinking, the pragmatism of the solution proposed, and a demonstrable understanding of the context that will actually help people.”
Pitt Business organized an advisory committee consisting of representatives from corporate partners at Highmark Health, the Heinz Endowments, Accenture, the Pittsburgh Technology Council, SAP, Mastercard, and Giant Eagle. Executives from these organizations not only helped shape the challenge case, but serve as executive coaches, analytical methods experts, and subject matter specialists who work alongside the graduate students to share experience and knowledge and provide guidance on the proposed solutions.
The winning team will have the opportunity to implement some of their innovative ideas, the details of which will be announced following the conclusion of the Challenge in the second half of Spring 2022.
“The success of the 2021 Super Analytics Challenge highlighted the necessity for graduate schools to provide their students the opportunity to create real impact by leveraging their skills and knowledge,” says Sara Moeller, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at Katz. “By solidifying this as an annual event, we continue to emphasize the importance of combining classroom concepts with integrated learning opportunities. Our goal is for the challenge to continually serve as a signature event that both enriches our students’ learning experiences while generating tangible change in the wider Pittsburgh community.”
Watch the Final Judging
The public is invited to view the final presentations, judging, and awards ceremony on Friday, February 18, beginning at 11 AM EST. If you are interested in attending the judging session, fill out this form to receive the Zoom login information and the final agenda. There will also be a follow-on Symposium scheduled for April 2022 during which further research about food insecurity and hunger will be presented. Follow along at business.pitt.edu for more details about the Symposium as they are released. Students and corporate partners will also be posting about their experiences using the hashtag #KatzImpact, and we invite you to review those social media posts as well.
To learn more about how you can get involved in a program like the Super Analytics Challenge at Pitt Business, please contact the career management team at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can give back to Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank at https://pittsburghfoodbank.org/.
Super Analytics Challenge: #KatzImpact Beyond the Classroom
The annual Super Analytics Challenge is an opportunity for Pitt graduate students to harness the power of data analytics to serve as catalysts for change. Led by the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, students from unique backgrounds team up to frame a problem, create a data methodology, and generate operable proposals for solutions. In addition, students interact with a variety of senior technology and data executives at Fortune 500 corporations and local community organizations.
“Katz’s mission to prepare students to be catalysts for change is more important than ever, requiring us to prioritize our approach to integrated learning and embrace our purpose of educating leaders who positively impact humanity” – Sara B. Moeller, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Executive Education, Katz Graduate School of Business
Big Ideas, Big Impact
The Challenge’s impact includes sharing and generating new knowledge; connecting business analytics skill development and training – a critical skill for the work force of tomorrow. We’re also connecting with graduate programs across Pitt, including students from different programs.
Fellowship funding is also available for students to implement their ideas. This supports other existing programs like the Bridge Program as developed by Katz to implement ideas generated from the Challenge.
2022 Challenge: Food Insecurity and Hunger
According to Feed America, 1 in 8 Americans goes hungry every day. Yet the United States produces more food than any other country. The 2022 Challenge recipient partner organization is the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, which serves 11 counties in southwestern PA, supporting some 320,000 people who are food insecure.
Executive support and guidance are being provided by executive leaders from Mastercard, SAP, Accenture, Giant Eagle, Highmark, the Heinz Endowments, and the Pittsburgh Technology Council.
The challenge includes seven teams of five graduate students, mostly from Katz and then other schools, including engineering, physics, public health, and computing and information. The competition starts in late January with project work in February and the teams’ final presentations on Feb. 18, 2022.
2021 Challenge: Homelessness
Katz partnered with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services to examine scenarios that either led people and families into becoming homeless, or factors which may prevent homelessness. By harnessing the unique skills, diverse perspectives, and energy of graduate students, the Challenge sought to catalyze social impact through novel data-driven solutions and insights that could serve the homeless community.
The winning team of students received an $8,000 fellowship to implement their idea, which was to bring more access to sanitation to the homeless community. This article, The #KatzImpact and Beyond, summarizes the collaboration between the team, Accenture, Highmark, the National Association of Counties, Pittsburgh Technology Council, SAP, and UPMC along with non-profits Love Beyond Walls and Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community in Pittsburgh’s South Side. Other supporters include the American Marketing Association – Pittsburgh