Student Symposium – New in 2016!

Teams of two to four undergraduate and graduate students from accredited academic institutions are invited to compete on the application of SAS® Analytics to big data.

The SAS Global Forum Student Symposium is an opportunity for teams of two to four postsecondary students and a faculty adviser (professor) to showcase their skills and compete with other teams in the application of SAS Analytics in big data.

Teams will be given access to eight data sources and SAS software. Teams choose the data source that most interests them, use SAS to perform analyses on the problem, and submit a paper on the solution of their choice. Learn more about the data sources.

The top eight teams will be selected to travel to SAS Global Forum in Las Vegas in April 2016 to present their project in a 20-minute breakout session. The oral presentations will be judged, and the top three teams will be announced at the conference.

No purchase necessary, void where prohibited, see Official Rules for complete details.

Congratulations to the finalists

  • Oklahoma State University
    Sandeep Chittoor, Vignesh Dhanabal, Sharat Dwibhashi and Heramb Joshi
  • Kennesaw State University
    Bill Bentley, Gina Colaianni, Cheryl Joneckis and Kennedy Onzere
  • Bryant University
    Max Karsok, Molly Funk and Michelle Williams
  • York University
    Cathy LaBrish and Joo Ann Lee
                • Dakota State University
                  Pramod Bhandari, Pradeep Bista, Ishan Gajurel and Yousra Harb
                • University of Arizona
                  Lysbeth Floden and Patrick O’Connor
                • Université Laval
                  Aurélien Nicosia and Samuel Perreault
                • North Carolina State University
                  Daniel Brannock, Catherine LaChapelle and Craig Shaver


                  What are the official rules for participation?

                  No purchase necessary, void where prohibited, see Official Rules for complete details.

                  What do the teams win?

                  The top eight teams will receive:

                  • Up to $3,000 in travel reimbursement for hotel and airfare to attend and present at the conference. (The advising faculty member is responsible for the allocation of funds and submitting receipts for reimbursement. At a minimum, the faculty adviser and one student team member must attend SAS Global Forum.)
                  • Conference registration for up to four team members and one faculty adviser.
                  • One free half-day pre- or post-conference tutorial for each team member and the faculty adviser in attendance at SAS Global Forum.
                  • A 60% off coupon to purchase one SAS book at SAS Global Forum or online via the SAS Bookstore.
                  • Recognition at the Academic Summit at SAS Global Forum and publicity for being one of the top eight teams.

                  Each student from the top three teams will receive:

                  • SAS Certification exam voucher.
                  • SAS Certification prep guide book. (Note: Not all exams have a corresponding prep course.)
                  • Voucher for a free seat in an online SAS Certification prep course. (Note: Not all exams have a corresponding prep course.)

                  Winning university programs will receive:

                  • First place – $2,000 worth of SAS Academic Training Points (4,000 points).
                  • Second place – $1,500 worth of SAS Academic Training Points (3,000 points).
                  • Third place – $1,000 worth of SAS Academic Training Points (2,000 points).

                  No purchase necessary, void where prohibited, see Official Rules for complete details.

                  What are the key dates?

                  Aug. 24 – Oct. 31, 2015: Teams register to participate in the Student Symposium.

                  Nov. 1, 2015 – Jan. 15, 2016: Final papers must be submitted. All registered teams will receive an email in October with instructions on how to submit their final paper.

                  Feb. 16, 2016: Top eight teams are announced.

                  April 4, 2016: Deadline for top eight teams to submit their final PowerPoint presentation to be presented at SAS Global Forum. Instructions on how to submit the PowerPoint will be emailed to all participants of the top eight teams.

                  April 18-21, 2016: SAS Global Forum, The Venetian, Las Vegas. Each of the top eight teams will present its work in a 20-minute breakout session.

                  Who is eligible to apply?

                  Students at least 18 years old who are enrolled in a full-time, accredited, degree-granting program who still have their full-time student status at the time of the conference (April 18-21, 2016). Teams must consist of two to four students and one advising faculty member (professor). The faculty member serves in an advisory role only. All work must be completed by the students. No Purchase Necessary. Void Where Prohibited. See Official Rules for complete details.

                  How do I participate?

                  Register your team online by Oct. 31, 2015.

                  Upon confirmation of team eligibility, you will receive instructions for accessing the data and SAS software. (Usually within two to three business days.)

                  Submit your team's final paper by Jan. 15, 2016. Detailed instructions will be emailed to all team members in October on how to submit the final paper.

                  What should the final paper include?

                  Students are expected to write a paper that defines the problem, describes the analysis performed, and presents the results in such a manner as to be of use in business, science, government, education, health care, etc. Students will be judged on the broad accessibility of results, so papers should be appropriately technical, but still understandable to nonanalytics audiences. The paper must be four-six pages in length with an appendix. There is no page limit on the appendix. The written paper must be in English and contain the following components:

                  • Introduction.
                  • Data.
                  • Problem.
                  • Data Cleaning/Validation.
                  • Analysis.
                  • Visualization (graphs, charts, etc.) – can be included in the appendix.
                  • Generalization.
                  • Suggestions for Future Studies.
                  • Conclusion.

                  Where can I find helpful tips for submitting my paper?

                  Do all students need to be from the same university?

                  Yes, all students need to be from the same university.

                  What criteria will be considered in choosing the semifinalists?

                  The evaluation rubric is on a 10-point scale on the following items:

                  • Introduction – Is the introduction appropriate, and does it provide a concise lead-in to the report given?
                  • Data – Is the source of the data adequately documented?
                  • Problem – Is the problem(s) clearly defined, and are objectives of the study precisely given?
                  • Data cleaning/validation – Is the data cleaning process adequately explained?
                  • Analysis – Were appropriate analytical methods used and adequately explained?
                  • Visualization – Are appropriate graphics and visuals provided?
                  • Generalization – Are results provided for a general, nontechnical audience?
                  • Suggestions for future studies – Are issues for future studies/different problem approaches given?
                  • Conclusions – Are conclusions concisely given?

                  Can I use my own data sets?

                  No, you may only use the data provided.

                  Can I enroll as an individual?

                  No, this is a team competition.

                  Can I participate in more than one team?

                  No. Students may only participate in one team; however, a faculty adviser may serve as the adviser for more than one team.

                  Can I change or add team members?

                  Yes, but there is a maximum of four team members allowed. Send an email to to request changes.

                  What is the role of the advising faculty member?

                  The faculty advisor should assist in the same context as would the major professor for a master’s student working on a thesis. The faculty advisor can provide suggestions, advice, critique, review and in a sense serve the role of a coach. All work must be done by the students.

                  Can I use my own license of SAS software?

                  No, you must only use the SAS software provided to you in the AWS environment, designed specifically for this competition.


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