Students Compete to Program Automated Solutions in Bank of America Hackathon
Thirty undergraduate, MBA, and Master’s in Management students from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business participated in a hackathon hosted by Bank of America and McDonough on September 27. The challenge focused on developing automated solutions in banking using robotic software.
Working in teams, students were given eight hours to develop a solution for a pre-set automation task. The challenge was relatively broad: Use the software Pega to choose one problem in the financial system and create an automated solution to solve that problem.
The winning team, comprising Omar Al-Alami (MBA’20), Cindy Lu (B’21), Salome Mikadze (B’22), Manan Narula (MiM’20), and Derron Payne (B’21) tackled the problem of the dispersion of information in the finance industry that makes the jobs of investment bankers difficult when underwriting and performing similar tasks. For example, consider a company that enlists a banker to assist in an initial public offering. The banker needs data about a company in order to value it, such as profits and costs. Much of this information, however, is scattered across different platforms and can be difficult to find.
Using the Pega Platform, the group programmed software that would allow all this information to be streamlined into one place.
“What we ended up developing was an automated system that could run without humans having to do anything,” said Payne. “One of the problems with big financial institutions is they have these huge outdated systems with a ton of information. They have to go to so many different places to get the information to make decisions. So we asked the question: What if we could streamline that and have an automated system that could put all of the data together?”
The winning team will travel to New York together to present their project to Bank of America executives.
Mikadze felt that one of the most important parts of the experience was the social aspect of working with students from different programs.
“I got to meet a lot of great people, and I am very excited to go to New York and learn more about my teammates,” she said.
Gilles Hilary, Houston Term Professor of Accounting, created and coordinated the event — the first jointly held hackathon with Bank of America — with the help of alumnus Paul Simpson (I’89), global banking and markets operations executive at Bank of America.