Students Face Off in First Data Modeling Competition

Apr 26 2019

NYU Shanghai held its first-ever Data Modeling Competition, “Hack The Pearl,” on April 19, bringing together some 50 students to test their data processing and modeling abilities over three days.

Sponsored by HSBC China (HBCN) as part of its strategic collaboration with the university, and organized by student computer science clubs Splice, Mubotics, and C4G, the competition challenged student teams to leverage big data from HBCN to develop predictive models to forecast whether customers would purchase investment or insurance products within three months. At stake were summer internships at HBCN and chances to present their solutions to HBCN leadership.  

Data provided to students was historical, so their predictions could be compared to actual results, which were then taken into consideration when determining the competition winners. Thirteen teams survived the three-day challenge to present their results on the final Sunday.

HBCN Senior International Manager & Chief Data Officer Jason Jiang explaining the dataset to students 

“The transactional, social-demographic, and navigational data that HBCN shared with us provided a rare opportunity for the students to practice modeling in the real world,” says Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Business Analytics, Enric Junqué de Fortuny. “This kind of experiential learning resonates with NYU Shanghai’s motto, ‘Make The World Your Major,’ because you take the classroom into the real world, into a real company.”

Three teams earned awards for “Most Participation,” “Most Efficient Code,” and “Most Exciting Data Analysis.”  

From left to right: Zane Fadul ’21, leader of the student-led planning team, with winners of the “Most Exciting Data Analysis” Award: Yuan Zhuochen ’22, Huang Yichen ’22, Luo Yiyang ’22, and professor Enric Junqué de Fortuny

The student-led planning team determined the winners of the first two distinctions, while “Most Exciting Data Analysis,” was decided by a panel of judges that included Professor Junqué de Fortuny, Professor of Practice in Computer Science Olivier Marin, and Associate Professor of Practice of Engineering Romain Corcolle. The all-freshman team, “Ape. Likes. Equilibrium(X),” consisting of students Huang Yichen ’22, Luo Yiyang ’22, and Yuan Zhuochen ’22, took home the professors’   prize for their outstanding presentation and the greater accuracy of data modeling.

Ma Junhai ’21, Tao Qingyu ’21, and Wang Zheng ’21 won “Most Efficient Code,” and Henry Liu ’19, Anderson Lin ’22, Yuchen Zhu ’22 for “Most Participation.”

After evaluating each team’s prediction results, HBCN will select five NYU Shanghai teams to give 10-minute presentations at their headquarters. Three students from these teams will be offered internship opportunities with HBCN this summer.

“As students, it was not easy for us to organize such a big event. We had to make countless cold calls and even visited some venues to promote our event, and ask for sponsorship,” said planning team leader, Zane Fadul ’21. “This was quite a learning experience for us, and we are planning to hold a Hackathon with a bigger scope and involving the greater Shanghai community next year.”

More collaborations with HSBC China in the fields of data science, computer science, and business are in the works, including internship opportunities and research support.