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Analytics Students to Smackdown Big Data at Competition Oct. 11

CHICAGO (October 1, 2013) — University of Chicago students interested in  predictive analytics can be challenged with real-life business applications with the chance to win $2,000 at The Data Smackdown Analytics Competition Friday, Oct. 11.  Hosted by Chicago-based global online lender Enova International students will work in teams of one to four people with six hours to solve a data set in a business case.
“This is a great opportunity for students interested in analytics to enjoy some friendly competition and stretch their skills,” said Adam McEIhinney, head of business and marketing analytics. “At Enova the analytics team is tasked with enhancing the company’s profitability. We do this by improving decision-making processes using data analysis techniques and modeling methodologies. We hope to illuminate these processes with the Data Smackdown, giving interested students the opportunity to understand real-world applications of data analysis.”
The Data Smackdown will take place Friday, Oct. 11, from 6 p.m. to midnight in Room 130 at Harper Memorial Library at 1116 E. 59th Street on the University of Chicago campus. There is no advance registration for the event or cost for participating.  Full Smackdown rules can be found at Students should bring a laptop, power cords and their university student ID.  Food and drinks will be provided.  Other questions on the event can be sent to
Participating teams will work to analyze the data and be given several hours to develop a presentation that makes recommendations and provides solutions to the specific problem/data. Work must be finished within the room to remain in the competition. Judges will score the teams on their business understanding, preparation of data, thoroughness of data modeling, validation of the model, and quality of their presentation.  The first-place team takes home $2,000, with $1,000 for second place and $500 for third.
With advances in software and database systems, companies are capturing and crunching data in ways that help their business better serve customers, predict their behavior, innovate, improve productivity and cut costs. As a result the demand for analytics talent has exploded.  CareerBuilder recently found that “jobs tied to managing and interpreting big data” were among the “hot areas for hiring” in the second half of 2013.
Enova was just ranked as the third largest digital company in Chicago by Built in Chicago.  Earlier this year Enova was named the top employer of Gen Y Emerging Talent in Chicago by Brill Street + Company in its 2012 Top 50 Employers for Gen Y Emerging Talent in Chicago and ranked in Computerworld’s Top 100 Places to Work in IT.
About Enova
Enova believes everyone deserves access to simple and trustworthy financial services and works to close the credit gap for underserved consumers.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Cash America International, Inc. (NYSE: CSH),  Enova is a trusted online provider of credit alternatives for more than three million hard-working people worldwide facing short-term cash demands through our brands,,, and  Enova pioneered online lending in 2004 and today leads the industry in our dedication to responsible and licensed lending. Our advanced analytical models provide automated and real-time approval of customers’ loan applications, significantly faster than traditional loan processing.