SAS challenges SMU students to identify opportunities in the mobile tech industry

In today’s evolving business landscape, the use of analytics is now a crucial element in making smarter, data-driven decisions across every business function in a company. Just as important are the skills in analyzing the data and applying insights to come up with solutions or new ideas – and this is not limited to IT departments or 'data geeks'.

As part of SAS' ongoing efforts to groom the next generation of data scientists, SAS, the SMU School of Information Systems, and the Business Intelligence and Analytics Student Club at SMU co-organized the SAS-SMU Analytics Competition which was open to students across the six schools at the Singapore Management University (SMU): Accountancy, Business, Information Systems, Economics, Law and Social Sciences.

Given the exponential growth of the mobile phone industry in the last 20 years, competition has been aggressive, and consumers are now spoilt for choice. The SAS-SMU Analytics Competition tasked participating teams to identify the growth opportunities in the ever-changing mobile technology industry, using a dataset that comprised more than 900,000 comments related to mobile phones for the past 15 years. The students were given two weeks to analyze the data using a suite of SAS analytics tools, including Visual Analytics and Text Analytics, to come up with actionable insights.

"As Singapore moves towards its Smart Nation vision, skills in analytics will continue to be in high demand. By exposing these students to opportunities where they can apply their skills to current issues, it will help them understand the skillsets required, and hopefully inspire them to continue exploring a career as an analytics expert, said Francis Fong, Managing Director, SAS Singapore. "We have been working closely with SMU and the education sector to support the schools’ curriculum, provide opportunities for internships and we are committed to continue in grooming Singapore’s future talent."

Teams were judged by a panel of five judges: Ruoyu Bao, Director, Global Analytics Hub, Lenovo Singapore; Michelle Cheong, Associate Professor of Information Systems (Practice) and Associate Dean, Post-Graduate Professional Education, SMU School of Information Systems; Ang Kian Keong, Project Management, Applications & Delivery, Starhub; Ayliana Dharmawan, Head, MID, Office of Clinical Governance, Tan Tock Seng Hospital; and Dr Stuart Christmas, Principal, Analytics, SAS Institute Pte Ltd.

Team from School of Information Systems and Business emerge as winners

Team TriSAS emerged as the champion against 5 other teams which made it to the finals. This was a hybrid team comprised of third-year students from SMU’s School of Information Systems Ranon Sim and Vincent Tatan, as well as final-year School of Business student Smeet Malvania. The judges were impressed by their clarity in conveying the essentials of the "who, what, where, why and how" of the case challenge in both their analytics investigation and their presentation. They did the best job of all the teams uncovering rich, actionable insights from the large data set provided by SAS specifically for this student case challenge effort.

"At Lenovo, we recognize the importance of analytics to transform data into valuable insights, which ultimately leads to business impact along the value chain," said Ruoyu Bao, Director, Global Analytics Hub, Lenovo Singapore.

Collaborating with tertiary institutions to expand opportunities for lucrative careers

Over the years, SAS has forged strategic partnerships with various Singapore's Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) aimed at increasing the skills, resources and competencies in Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analytics (BA) in Singapore. These collaborations allow SAS to enable the IHLs by providing the knowledge and technology aligned with what the industries need, through training, scholarships, and internship opportunities. Since 2008, SAS has offered more than 100 bond-free scholarships to students studying at local IHLs, aimed to encourage students to acquire knowledge in the field of data analytics without the obligation to find a job placement within SAS.

In 2014, SAS also launched the SAS Analytics U, a broad higher education initiative that includes free SAS software, university and industry partnerships, and engaging user communities that support the next generation of SAS users. The new, no-cost software offerings will allow students, professors and learners of all ages to access and deploy SAS software easily and faster - making it easier for anyone to become an analytics expert.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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