LSBE Team Earns Honors in State Competition

Tucker Hazzard, Michael Gorbatenko, Sam Ott, Joey Kmiec, Austin Steinmetz
November 25, 2019

Striving to learn all they could beforehand, LSBE's Marketing Analytics team proves their knowledge at competition. 

The fact that our predictions were spot on was just a benefit of our goal to learn.

From left: Tucker Hazzard, Michael Gorbatenko, Sam Ott, Joey Kmiec, and Austin Steinmetz

Marketing analytics is fast becoming a needed skill in today’s competitive business world. Five students in the LSBE Marketing Analytics Program (MAP) have proven their acumen having finished in the top six out of 40+ teams in the Undergraduate Division of the 2019 MinneMUDAC (Minnesota Midwest Undergraduate Data Analytics Competition), held November 9 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Michael Gorbatenko, Tucker Hazzard, Joey Kmiec, Sam Ott, and Austin Steinmetz diligently researched for many hours outside of class to prepare them for the competition. At the event, teams were challenged to find the best forecasting method that would help the agricultural company Farm Femmes sell soybeans for optimal profitability.

“Students were able to meet the farmers in person at the competition, which made it that much more real hearing the challenges the farmers face,” said Steve Sharkey, interim director of LSBE’s Marketing Analytics Program.

The teams provided forecasting prices for three different futures contracts. “This was a very complicated challenge in this current global environment,” added Sharkey.

“The problem we had to solve has no definitive answer, but it was our job to provide a clear and efficient solution to that problem,” said senior Joey Kmiec, who is majoring in Marketing Analytics and minoring in Management Information Systems (MIS).  

 “Our goal was to learn as much as we could and, therefore, be able to explain our process really well,” said senior Michael Gorbatenko, Marketing Analytics and MIS double major. “I believe this is what set us apart from other teams. The fact that our predictions were spot on was just a benefit of our goal to learn.”

LSBE’s team presented their methodology six times to judges and, thereby, earned an honorable mention as one of the six Undergraduate Division teams who ultimately presented to a packed auditorium. Out of the judging categories, LSBE’s team produced the forecast model with the second best forecast of the entire Undergraduate Division competition.

Overall, 99 teams competed in MinneMUDAC in three divisions—Novice (first-year undergraduates), Undergraduate (juniors/seniors), and Graduate.

“Our team as a whole happens to have a great composition of skill sets,” said Austin Steinmetz, senior Marketing Analytics Major. “Joey, Mike, and Tucker all have an advanced background of technical skills, while Sam and I are able to interpret and develop the story that ties everything together. None of us could do this project alone.”

There are many reasons for students to be involved in competitions and other outside industry events. “Competitions within your major are extremely beneficial to enhancing and growing your skillset, and there are a ton of future employers to network with as well,” said Tucker Hazzard, a senior with a double major of Marketing Analytics and Finance.   

Steinmetz, Kmiec, and Hazzard were part of the LSBE MAP team that earned Best Data Visualization honors in last year’s MUDAC.

LSBE’s Chris Kuehn, an MIS major, also competed at MinneMUDAC as a team member for the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. That team earned the Serendipitous Discovery Award as one of the six finalists in the Undergraduate Division.