hand and pen on blue screen
September 8, 2017
University of Iowa and Principal

Students compete for $5,500 in prizes in first Principal Challenge in Analytics Innovation

Principal Financial Group®, in partnership with the University of Iowa, is launching its first Principal Challenge in Analytics Innovation, a crowdsourced, problem-solving competition among undergraduate students to develop data-driven solutions to navigate financial markets.

Students around the world are eligible to compete individually or in teams to develop a model that applies analytics in new, novel ways to identify the best-performing stocks over time.

"People and businesses turn to the financial markets to help protect and grow their assets. Unfortunately, the value of stocks, bonds, and other securities fluctuates with market conditions," said Joseph Byrum, chief data scientist with Principal. "We’re sponsoring this challenge because we believe having the right data at the right time plays a critical role in successfully anticipating economic and environmental changes that may impact investment performance—and ultimately impact how people live their best lives."

In partnership with Principal, the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business will provide three different faculty experts from disciplines including statistics, machine learning, and optimization for online office-hour sessions open to all participants to give an overview of the problem from their specific area of focus, and then Q&A.

“We find business students at all levels are eager to take on real-world business problems,” said Nick Street, chair of the University of Iowa’s Management Sciences Department. “The Principal Challenge gives students an experiential learning opportunity—an integral part of the undergraduate experience to help students gain a fresh perspective on business problems and put classroom learning into practice.”

The winner will receive $2,000; the runner-up $1,500; third-place entry $1,000, fourth-place entry $500, and fifth- and sixth-place entries $250. The challenge is now live and accepting submissions until January 19, 2018. Students can access the financial predictors data sets and semi-annual returns for the competition at https://www.ideaconnection.com/principal-analytics-challenge/. Finalists will be announced Feb. 9, 2018. Contestants must be 18 years or older to participate.