Adobe and Nike launch analytics competition for college students

Image source: news.nike.com

By Nate Smith

Posted on 10-26-2020

Fall semester is underway for college students, but it is unlike anything they have ever experienced. With in-person instruction on pause, many are having to embrace coursework online. As our future workforce, students are getting a taste of the new normal, one where digital is much more than a supporting player. It will continue to shape how they work, how they learn, how they unwind, and how they transact. It will also shape their educational needs, where digital literacy is becoming table stakes.

Since 2005, the Adobe Analytics Challenge is the only collegiate competition where students get a chance to work with real data to solve a real business challenge. Teams are given the same analysis tools used by Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and government agencies alike. They are tasked with uncovering the best insights to support their ideas, and will see that in a more digitized world, there is an even greater need for data expertise. Many of them will walk away with analysis skills that are market-ready.

This year, we are thrilled to announce Nike as our brand partner. Together, we will be taking the competition virtual. Over several weeks, teams will work with Nike and dig into a set of data they provide. They will analyze everything from web traffic and marketing segments, to customer journeys across touchpoints like apps and eCommerce. In the final round, six teams will compete virtually in front of an expert judging panel, where over $60,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded.

As the program has grown over the years, so has interest from students and university programs. Each time, the Adobe team is awed by the thousands of applicants that come in from colleges and universities around the nation—and this year was no different. Today, we are excited to announce the finalists, which include teams from Chicago Booth, Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), National University of Singapore, University of California (Los Angeles), Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad, and the University of Utah

Over 14 years of the competition, we have seen that student’s field of study does not limit them in setting their team apart. Finalist come from diverse backgrounds in marketing and HR, to finance and business analytics. Consistently, teams have demonstrated that critical thinking and a sense of curiosity are the most important traits for doing well.

The Challenge: Sneakerheads to dataheads

Nike believes that if you have a body, you are an athlete. And, if you are a fan of the brand, you know that Nike caters to many different personas—from sneaker enthusiasts to influencers, to elite and everyday athletes. No matter how you engage with Nike, there are numerous ways to do so, spanning stores and eCommerce, to fitness apps like Nike Training Club (NTC) and lifestyle apps like SNKRS. This mix of entry points and preferences has created an interesting orchestration challenge for the company. Nike ensures that every consumer interaction is one cohesive, personalized experience that inspires with innovation.

For the 2020 Adobe Analytics Challenge, teams will be tasked with looking at the overall Nike consumer journey. Teams will be challenged to define what that experience could look like, and what the personalization strategy could entail for a variety of consumer personas (running vs yoga vs tennis, for example). In the end, students will ultimately have to answer what it will take to create a seamless and customized digital experience, where visitors are motivated to become members.

“We’re excited to partner with students for the Adobe Analytics Challenge because we believe the future will be centered in data and digital technologies,” said Emily White, Vice President of Enterprise Data & Analytics at NIKE, Inc. “In today’s world, data is useful not only for data scientists, but also for any role that touches the customer experience. The Adobe Analytics Challenge is a great way to expose students to a great set of analytics tools used to solve real-world problems. We are excited to see how the next-generation of future leaders will bring data to life.”

Come watch the finals

On November 17, the finals will be presented virtually on AdobeAnalyticsChallenge.com. Tune in live starting at 9:00 am PT / 12:00 pm ET (the event will be available on demand as well, after it wraps). Come see the finalists duke it out for the top prize, in front of a judging panel of Nike representatives, along with industry experts.

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