McDonough School of Business
Students used data-driven insights to address pressing issues during the inaugural Datahon.
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Inaugural Datathon Empowers Students to Solve Real-World Challenges Through Data Analysis

The inaugural Datathon at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business empowered students with practical skills to address challenges through data and showcased the powerful connection between academia, industry practice, and technology. Organized by the accounting faculty and sponsored by EY, Alteryx, and the school’s AI, Analytics, and the Future of Work Initiative, the Datathon strengthened the ties between Georgetown’s diverse academic programs and the professional world in an engaging environment. 

During the event, participating students used data-driven insights to address pressing issues such as air quality and other health concerns in communities across the United States. The Datathon included undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds across the university, including business, math, global affairs, and social justice – fostering a spirit of full-school collaboration.

“I commend Georgetown for providing students with hands-on experience in data analysis,” said Tony Mena (MBA’24), a member of the winning team. “As a part-time student with a full-time consulting background, I understand the importance of practical skills in today’s data-driven world. Allowing students to leverage data analysis skills equips them for success in organizations.”

Mike Risk (EY) presents Team 5 (Costanza Rossi, Tony Mena, Joey Trigiani, and Luke Duffy) with a $2,500 check for winning the final round of the competition.

Mike Risk (EY) presents Team 5 (Costanza Rossi, Tony Mena, Joey Trigiani, and Luke Duffy) with a $2,500 check for winning the final round of the competition.

The event started with optional training workshops to help students master Alteryx and various data analysis techniques. Designed as a two-round competition, the first round was an elimination phase where participants showcased their data-wrangling skills. The top 60 participants then advanced to the final round, working in four-person interdisciplinary teams to analyze big data and present their findings to an expert panel of judges. The event featured interactions with representatives from Alteryx and EY, as well as McDonough professors, who volunteered as mentors and judges. 

“The Datathon truly made me appreciate the value and importance of data analysis in our constantly evolving world,” said Helen Zhu (B’26). “It gave me the opportunity to work and squabble with the largest, most realistic, and complex datasets that I’ve ever worked with, and I received valued feedback on my work from industry leaders.”

Participating students gained hands-on experience in data analysis and data-driven decision-making, which are essential skills in today’s business world. 

“The Datathon was a win-win for all those involved,” said Karen Kitching, a teaching professor of accounting. “Students want to learn more about data analysis and the Datathon was a fun and welcoming way to help them do that. Additionally, the professionals want to recruit the top talent at the university and the Datathon showcased the students’ capabilities in a real-world simulation. The event was a signal to the business community that Georgetown McDonough is leading the effort to teach data literacy to our students.”

“Students loved it and the sponsors came away with a continued appreciation of McDonough’s quality education across all programs,” said Jason Schloetzer, associate professor of business administration and area chair of accounting and business law. 

Reflecting on the collaborative effort that contributed to the success of Georgetown’s inaugural Datathon, Mike Risk, an EY partner who specializes in technology risk assurance, acknowledged the students’ teamwork, talent, dedication, and their role in shaping the future of the industry. 

“With the help of an army of folks from EY, Georgetown, and Alteryx, I couldn’t be happier with the success,” said Risk. “I continue to be impressed with the students I interacted with and look forward to increasing awareness of the fantastic opportunities in the public accounting and professional services industry as a whole.”

Future of Work