BYU students win Adobe Analytics Challenge and bring home $35,000

BYU students Ryan Tucker, Kyle Wong and Joseph Heywood win the Adobe Analytics Challenge in San Jose, Calif. (Adobe)

Students gathered from across the nation to compete in the Adobe Analytics Challenge on Oct. 28. The BYU team of students — Ryan Tucker, Joseph Heywood and Kyle Wong — developed a game-changing strategy for Major League Baseball’s marketing campaign. The team won the event and walked away with $35,000 and potential employment opportunities.

The BYU team took home the win by understanding Major League Baseball’s issue. For the event, MLB inquired as to how they could bring their in-game experience to consumers digitally.

Disclosures were issued at the event for business privacy, and exact information is not disclosable for the solution BYU came up with to help MLB. However, Nate Smith, a BYU alumn working with the event, expanded on the method the BYU students took to get the win.

“Exploring the data, BYU found a pattern and had the right insight,” Smith said. “Think of this like peeling an onion. At first, they found something interesting in the data. But then they dug deeper and found out why it was happening.”

Smith said the BYU team did a great job determining the “why” of the interesting information they found in MLB’s data.

“They took the insight and came up with a big idea that no other team had,” Smith said. “Actual tangible answers. That’s the test at this event. Who can use the software the best?”

The Adobe Analytics Challenge started in Lehi, Utah, and has been around for over 12 years. It was later relocated to San Jose, Calif. Adobe hosts the event to provide promotion for business and technology industries in secondary education. 

“We guarantee interviews for all the finals,” Smith said. “If you compete, you are going to interview at Adobe. We are always on the hunt for fresh talent.”

The challenge is open for companies to submit their data as business cases to students to improve their marketing strategies. Known for Creative Suite, Adobe uses this challenge to encourage students to utilize its data-driven products.

“Every year before, we planned phases in ways to expand and promote the challenge. Business applies to everyone, and data is important,” said Kevin Wu, senior project manager at Adobe. “This challenge enables students to use AI features, detect anomalies or create segments for people who are similar.”

Wu said large clients valued the insight of students and the fresh take they usually have on the data provided. Large organizations like T‑Mobile, Lenovo, Comcast, Sony PlayStation and MGM Resorts International have participated in the challenge in the past.

The event is unique to the industry and is picking up speed. The problems aren’t hypothetical and the Adobe Analytics Challenge is an event that uses real-world data with real-world problems.

The competition had its greatest turnout this year with 1,500 students competing and a 20% increase in the number of universities participating.

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