As part of our relationship with the Singapore Economic Development Board, a core pillar of the Edelman Predictive Intelligence Centre (EPIC) mission is to develop and transfer skills to Singapore-bred talent, specifically focusing on innovative data skills in relation to the communications industry. In the last quarter of 2019, we held the inaugural EPIC Data Challenge to give Singapore-based students an opportunity to understand and experience real life reputational crisis scenarios that our clients typically face and apply data science to overcome those challenges.
The winners would not only be walking away with cash prizes, but also guaranteed internships opportunities within the EPIC team.
For the initial task, we collated datasets related to a crisis scenario and outlined a set of business challenges that the teams needed to develop innovative solutions for in order to make it to the final round presentation. We received over 100 student participants from various academic institutes within the 2-week window. During this task, the judges saw a variety of proposals outlining how they would detect news article sharing patterns and frameworks for identifying influencers and key issues through application of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning techniques. The finalists were shortlisted based on concise data led thought process, understanding of the actual challenge, creative thinking and commercial viability.
Five fantastic teams from NTU, NUS, SMU, SUTD and Yale-NUS presented to a panel of data experts in the final. The judges were impressed with the depth of thinking and ability to communicate ideas from all the finalists, especially as for many of the participants it was their first time taking on a Data Challenge. This didn’t mean the judges went easy on them however... The participants were posed with questions on the foundation of and the tolerance of their data models.
Eventually, Regional Flyer (comprised of students from NTU, NUS, and SMU) emerged as winners after impressing with their data science application, creativity and ability to concisely address questions. They have all been offered internships with EPIC commencing in the summer of 2020.
Feedback from the students was very positive, with many stating it was a great real life experience that would prepare them for their futures ahead.
EPIC will soon open applications for its 2020 challenge. Should you or anyone want to be involved in the upcoming challenges, just reach out at EPICdatachallenge@edelman.com