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"This type of experience is good preparation for the workplace."

A team of three students from Deakin’s Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics (DISBA) have been selected among the top ten finalist teams at the IBM Watson Analytics Global Competition (WAGC).

A worldwide inter-universities, skill-based contest, WAGC is designed to encourage students to create innovative solutions that utilise IBM Watson Analytics.

Dr William Yeoh, Director of Teaching and Learning at DISBA, and co-chair of WAGC, says that given the calibre of competing universities, this result is another indication that Deakin Business School is world-class and a leading education provider in the business analytics discipline.

‘Our students have experience working in teams and are taught analytics skills that are directly relevant to real-world business scenarios - a great advantage in a competition like the IBM Watson Analytics Global Competition,’ he remarks.

This year’s contest encouraged students to adopt user-friendly tools and expand their understanding of the analytics space. The main challenge for was to apply Watson Analytics to develop innovative solutions, visualisations and predictive models in relation to environmental issues.

The Deakin team built analytics dashboards to improve understanding and action on air quality from the community level through to global policy decision-makers.

The team’s approach focused on building engagement and understanding, with the ultimate aim of creating positive change in human activities that degrade air quality.  For this reason the dashboards are viewable from the global right down to the country level, meaning each user can relate to the content and feel personally involved in each dashboard.

The interactivity of the developed dashboards is also an important element, as research has demonstrated that allowing people to explore their own particular interests are more likely to positively change their behaviour based on that information rather than passively consuming information. 

Dr Yeoh explains that this type of experience is good preparation for the workplace, as students learn first-hand about problem solving, communicating ideas to clients and using advanced analytics software – all sought-after skills in both the public and private sector.

‘Our team had a mix of skill sets and backgrounds, which helped in building and executing robust creative analytics solutions,’ he adds.

We wish our students, Nakul Bajaj, Robyn Abel and Scott Burden all the best for October 2016, when the team will be competing in the finals in Las Vegas.