Pappajohn Business Building in the spring
Friday, April 2, 2021

In March and April 2021, the Tippie College of Business hosted its fifth annual Business Analytics Case Competition. Thirty teams of master’s students representing universities from around the world came together for this virtual competition to solve a real-world business challenge using analytics.

As COVID-19 vaccination efforts ramped up across the country, this year’s case about understanding trends in global vaccination, provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was especially timely.

“This year’s case focused on understanding trends in global population and vaccination and uses data to drive proper planning and resource allocations,” said Kristine Arens, coordinator of the competition and director of the Master of Science in Business Analytics program at Tippie. “The Gates Foundation asked participant teams to evaluate different data sets to not only help with planning, but to project potential health impacts of a variety of vaccines.”

During the competition, teams performed a deep-dive analysis of the datasets provided by the Gates Foundation and made recommendations to a panel of industry experts.

The panel reviewed video recorded presentations and selected five teams to advance. After a final question and answer round on April 2, 2021, the team from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business was announced as the winner in a presentation attended by more than 100 viewers.

“This was our first year hosting a virtual competition and it was fantastic,” said Arens. “Holding the competition virtually helped us expand our reach all the way to Europe and Canada, which not only brought more diverse student teams to the table, but also brought more potential solutions to our case sponsor.”

Additional financial sponsors included HMS, Hy-Vee, John Deere, Kum & Go, Principal, Transamerica, PwC, State Farm, Health Catalyst, EY, ACT, RNL, College Raptor, Clarivate Analytics, AArete, United Airlines, and Collins Aerospace.

"We are grateful to the sponsors, judges, student teams, and volunteers that made this entire virtual event possible,” said Allison Hershberger, Tippie event and administrative services coordinator. “What a memorable year for this competition!”

The 2022 competition is scheduled to resume as an in-person event to be held April 7-8, 2022 on the university campus.

The winners of the 2021 Business Analytics Case Competition:

1st Place- University of Southern California – $5,000

2nd Place- University of Cincinnati – $3,500

3rd Place- Oklahoma State University – $1,500

4th Place- Western Illinois University

5th Place- The University of Alabama