BYU’s Com­mu­nity team presents on the main stage at the new Adobe Lehi campus

Last month, Adobe held the finale for its 11th Adobe Dig­i­tal Ana­lyt­ics Com­pe­ti­tion (ADAC) at its new Lehi cam­pus. This unique com­pe­ti­tion gives col­lege stu­dents an oppor­tu­nity to test drive Adobe’s industry-leading dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics tools and to ana­lyze real data from a well-known com­pany. Last year, Adobe part­nered with Back​coun​try​.com, and this year it part­nered with Com­cast for the com­pe­ti­tion. The Philadelphia-based media giant asked the stu­dent teams to ana­lyze its Xfin​i​tytv​.com site and pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions to its ana­lyt­ics team.

In 2012, the num­ber of uni­ver­si­ties com­pet­ing in the ADAC expanded to twelve schools: BYU, Chicago, Indi­ana, Mis­souri, MIT, North­west­ern, NYU, Texas-Austin, UC-Berkeley, UCLA, Utah, and Utah Val­ley. For the first time, stu­dent teams were given access to Adobe Dis­cover in addi­tion to Adobe Site­Cat­a­lyst. Even though there was only enough time to train the stu­dents on Site­Cat­a­lyst, many of the top teams dived into Dis­cover to ana­lyze key Xfin­ity seg­ments. Par­tic­i­pa­tion also grew this year to more than 350 stu­dents (60% growth) and 150 teams (78% growth). In the com­pe­ti­tion finale on Fri­day, Nov. 16th, six teams from BYU (two), UC-Berkeley, NYU, Mis­souri, and Texas bat­tled it out for the $15,000 grand prize ($27K in total prizes).

Erin West of Miz­zou shares analy­sis find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions with Com­cast team

After a tough fight in the finale, three MBA stu­dents from BYU—Jared Fer­gu­son, Tyler Ruby, and Ryan Terry—cap­tured the top prize. BYU has com­peted in the ADAC since 2005, and it was able to return to the top of the podium in 2012. In its first year in the com­pe­ti­tion, a team from the UC-Berkeley Haas Busi­ness School (Dino Bouk­ouris, Alex Leung, and Tamara Pat­ter­son) left a strong impres­sion when it cap­tured sec­ond place. For the third straight year a team from NYU par­tic­i­pated in the ADAC finale, and the NYU team of Agata Dec, Rodrigo Domingues, and Jean-Paul Behrens placed third in the com­pe­ti­tion. The Uni­ver­sity of Mis­souri con­tin­ued its win­ning ways for the sec­ond year in a row by cap­tur­ing the fourth-place posi­tion (Chris Knut­son, Brian Reitz, and Erin West).

David McBride and Dave Hodg­man from Com­cast joined Michael Hal­brook and me from Adobe as judges for the finale. McBride, who is the Direc­tor of Ana­lyt­ics at Com­cast, shared the fol­low­ing thoughts on the ADAC:

I was incred­i­bly impressed with the qual­ity of the find­ings pro­vided by the final­ist teams. Every pre­sen­ta­tion con­tained sev­eral excel­lent rec­om­men­da­tions. We are already work­ing on some of these ideas, but there were many new sug­ges­tions shared that we will con­sider for implementation.

Dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics prac­ti­tion­ers often talk about how hard it is to find qual­i­fied ana­lysts. If this year’s ADAC is any indi­ca­tion, help is on the way as these stu­dents and oth­ers seek intern­ships and full-time employ­ment. I am glad to see Adobe cul­ti­vat­ing this tal­ent on a national scale.

Audi­ence mes­mer­ized by insights shared dur­ing the competition

I’d like to con­grat­u­late the win­ners and all of the teams that par­tic­i­pated in this unique, analytics-focused event. We look for­ward to expand­ing the col­lege and stu­dent par­tic­i­pa­tion in the ADAC next year. If your com­pany or school would like to par­tic­i­pate in 2013, please reach out to me directly at @analyticshero on Twitter.

Lastly, I’d like to thank the Adobe Train­ing Ser­vices team (Mark Willder, Tiffany Pow­ell, Amberly Kings­ford), and Beckie Pouch for help­ing to orga­nize and host the ADAC event. This event wouldn’t have been a suc­cess with­out their help and sup­port. I look for­ward to next year’s com­pe­ti­tion and meet­ing another gen­er­a­tion of future dig­i­tal analysts.