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How to win a data challenge? Interview with GBAC winners!

Are you curious about the key factors to work well with your team and crack a data challenge? Read the interview with GBAC winners (spring 2020), Gianlorenzo Gai and Deyu Liu.

What do you think it is the first mistake one should avoid when approaching a data challenge?

Everyone is new. It is difficult to work as a team efficiently because it takes time to Identify teammates’ strengths and weaknesses. To sort this problem out, we tried to work together on every task, without assigning specific tasks to different people. We were not considering areas of expertise and we were just double-working on the same tasks, wasting a lot of time. When Deyu started working on the Business part and Gianlorenzo on the Data Analysis one, we really gave a boost to the project. In this way we were also able to review critically each other’s parts, coming up with new and better ideas.

What is the key to success when manipulating a lot of data?

We would say three main things:

- Business understanding of the database was our key driver

- Tailor the data analysis tools to the features of the dataset you are going to analyze

- Reduce the size of the database so that you can focus on the most important variables that must be meaningful from both a statistical and business perspective.

What were the most important interpersonal skills one should have to make the teamwork win? How did you manage to work together?

The ability to discuss, to tell others when you disagree, because it is the best and probably the only way to improve your work. Never give up, even though you will feel overwhelmed by university courses and the amount of workload that the case requires, do not give up, because the experience is worth a little more effort than usual.

Be humble: don’t just listen but also understand what others are expressing.

What do you want to tell current QTEM students that are participating in the GBAC?

Do not quit. Trust your potential even if you are overloaded with messy stuff. You will get the reward in the end.

Enjoy the ride and focus on breaking up the challenge into small milestones, you will see that achieving small but frequent milestones will increase your level of satisfaction and team spirit and will lead you to better outcomes.

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