7 August 2015

Think Big Data

In Semester 1, Woolworths teamed up with the Discipline of Business Analytics at the Business School to run a competition using real time data about the sales of some of their most popular product lines. At the end of the six week challenge, top students were giving the opportunity to interview for an internship with Woolworths. John Brann shares his experience on our blog this week.

The unique experience provided by the Big Data Competition was incomparable to anything I had previously experienced. From the beginning, there were a multitude of challenges, including ensuring that our group was on the same wavelength, as well as the simultaneous test of evaluating which techniques, of which we had learnt, would be most beneficial in gaining the best results. Thankfully, my group got along extremely well and we decided to split the workload and allow time for confirmation of our respective results to increase our chances of working out the correct predictions for the varying products.

Once our group was identified as one of the top groups, the next challenge of preparing for interviews with Woolworths arose. Fortunately, the Business School's Careers and Employability Office offered an interview workshop, which answered all the crucial aspects of how to impress and create a favourable first impression. Throughout this whole experience, I have gained valuable and unique skills that are definitely going to help me in the short term during university, as well as in the long term. Most importantly, it highlighted the clear benefits of teamwork and working as a coherent team. This will be especially important, as it will allow for more efficient and proactive group work in both an educational and workforce environment.

From a business perspective, by preparing for the interviews and researching Woolworths Limited, it exemplified how all aspects of any business boils down to the consumer. For example, I learned that when analysing the data, and ultimately it’s trends, the data analyst must recognise firstly, why the consumers behaved in a certain way, and secondly, how to change the consumers’ behaviour and perceptions to manipulate future data. Not only has this competition helped me gain many skills, but it has also supported and enhanced my business studies.

Looking back at my first semester at university, I have been most appreciative of the fact that I have already been given a wonderful opportunity to experience real world applications of business studies. This will not only add practical value to my next three and a half years, which I can use to my benefit when working on theoretical aspects, but also, it solidifies my interest in my studies and the opportunities it can manufacture.

In the long term, this competition and ultimately the internship in which I have been awarded with Woolworths will be extremely beneficial to my career goals. I will be able to work on real life situations consisting of at least a terabyte of data daily. This will be of great pragmatic value in a team environment, and will undoubtedly arm me with the skills for the future, which will fuel my potential. I am also grateful for being awarded this internship as it puts a foot in the door for future employment, which will assist my aspirations to a great extent.

John Brann
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School 

Applications for the 2015 Woolworths Limited Summer Internship Program are open now. Dare to Lead and apply today www.wowgrads.com.au.

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