What is it?
The Melbourne Business School’s ‘Business Analytics Datathon’ with $25,000 prize money is aimed at showcasing how advanced analytics can ‘Transform decision making’ using SAS analytics software and Data Republic’s data sharing platform. The final data sets and question will be revealed on the kick off weekend but the data may include financial, retail, loyalty, and health data.
Who is it for?
The Datathon is aimed at both corporate and student teams with not only advanced analytics and data science capabilities, but the ability to generate and communicate insight to ‘Transform decision making’.
Why do it?
The mission of Melbourne Business School’s (MBS) Centre for Business Analytics is to ‘Transform decision making through business analytics’. The final pitches of the Datathon are being held as the finale of MBS’s ‘Melbourne Business Analytics Conference’ in front of ~400 Australian senior executives where Australia’s top analytics talent will showcase what is possible through advanced analytics and actually solve a real business problem that could impact on the lives of all Australians.

Sponsors & Partners










4PM – 5:30PM
Finalist Pitches
MBS Business Analytics Conference



Sidney Myer Asia Centre


University of Melbourne

Parkville, VIC 3052


What data do we get and what is the challenge about?

The Datathon ‘problem to solve’ and data sets will be revealed on the kick off weekend, but the theme of the event is ‘Transforming Decision Making’.

We will be looking for teams to use the provided datasets to explore both government and private sector opportunities to use data to drive:
a) Increased productivity outcomes for business and government
b) Innovative problem solving approaches to well-known business problems across industries

Will the data be explained? Can I use additional data?

Yes. The data contributors will provide an overview of the data structure and also a data dictionary but not much else will be revealed. It is up to your team to analyse data and generate insights.

Yes, as long as it is publicly available and the sources are specified.

What technology platform will be used? For how long?

MBS has partnered with SAS and Data Republic to ensure that your team has the best tools for the job!

All data will remain on Data Republic’s ‘data science workspace’ which you will access via the internet for the duration of the Datathon. No data will be able to be pulled onto your computers. Through the Data Republic platform and SAS analytics solutions you will also be able to use open source software like R and Python and also Excel.

You can access the platform and data right through to submission day on Thursday 6th July, and then up until the Final if you make it all the way through.

Do I need to have a team?

Registrations are only open to teams of 3-6 participants for several reasons. Firstly, Analytics used to identify business insights are rarely performed in isolation, so we believe team work is essential. Secondly, deeper insights should be identified through team work as the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Can I form a team during the Kick-Off weekend?

You must pre-form teams and register before the event. Give thought to your team name because if you make the finals, this team name will be displayed to judges and an audience of 350-400+ people.

What will be the criteria? Who are the Judges?

The mission of MBS’ Centre for Business Analytics is to ‘Transform decision making through business analytics’ so the judging criteria will be focused on both generating valuable and actionable insights through analytics, and also effectively communicating those insights to influence decision-making.

There will be a judge from Melbourne Business School, SAS, Data Republic and a further 1-2 data contributors.

Is the Datathon free to enter? What are the prizes?

Application and participation in the Datathon is free! There is a total of $25,000 in prize money. The top student-only team will be awarded $5,000. The open first prize is $12,500. Second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $2,500. To be eligible to win the student-only prize, all team members must provide student numbers to register, and student cards need to visualised (no exceptions).

Do I need to be a data scientist or an advanced analytics expert to enter?

No, the Datathon is open to people of all skill sets and capabilities, but it would be advised to have strong analytics capability in your team to generate the insights.

Do I need to attend both the Kick-Off weekend and the final pitches during the Business Analytics conference on July 13th?

To be eligible to enter and win the Datathon, all registered teams must attend the kick-off weekend to:
a) Obtain the data on Saturday morning 1st July; and
b) Discuss initial findings with judges at 12 noon on Sunday 2nd July.

If your team is selected as a finalist, you will need to pitch in front of judging panel and audience at the MBS Business Analytics Conference on Thursday 13th July.

What are the other rules?

You can only enter teams of 3-6 participants. You can only be a member of one team. You can’t enlist any help from anyone outside your team. To be eligible to win the student-only prize, all team members must provide student numbers to register, and valid student cards need to visualised (no exceptions). Teams from data contributors and sponsors are not eligible to win prize money, although they are eligible to be selected as finalists.

What will I need to bring with me to the Datathon? Do I need to stay overnight?

Your own laptop (and don’t forget your power cord/charger) as well as any toiletries you may need (toothbrush, deodorant etc).

You don’t need to stay all night at the Datathon venue if you don’t want to. But to be eligible to be a finalist you do need to be present between 9am-12.30pm Saturday 1st July to receive data sets, instructions and the challenge, and also on Sunday July 2nd from 12 noon – 3pm for the first round of judging and final instructions. There will be mentors available all night to assist you onsite at the Datathon.

Will there be food and drink provided?

You will be well fed and hydrated throughout!


What analytics technology will be available to the Datathon participants?

SAS’ industry recognised, open source integrated analytics platform, SAS Viya will be available to the Datathon participants, including; SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Statistics & SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning

Where can I access SAS Viya training? Do I need an activation code?

The SAS Viya virtual learning environment can be accessed from http://support.sas.com/training/elearn/access.html.

Yes, An activation code will be emailed to you once your application to participate in the Datathon has been confirmed

What training does the virtual learning environment include?

The virtual learning environment includes SAS Visual Analytics 8.1 on SAS Viya, Transitioning from SAS 9 to SAS Viya, Data Mining & Machine Learning on SAS Viya & SAS Viya Analytics Workshop training

How do I access SAS Viya for training purposes?

Access to SAS Viya will be provided through the Datathon platform. Access details will be provided once your application to participate in the Datathon has been confirmed.

How can I learn about and access SAS for free after the Datathon?

SAS recommends you look at the following online tutorials: http://support.sas.com/training/tutorial/global.html – There are nearly 200 available tutorials which are suitable for people new to SAS. You can also review the appropriate learning path to start your learning journey (http://www.sas.com/offices/asiapacific/sp/training/paths/).

The SAS University edition provides free access to individuals using SAS for learning purposes for non-commercial use only. Refer to the following website: https://www.sas.com/en_us/software/university-edition.html

If I’m a student where can I read more about how SAS supports students?

The SAS Academic Program Student site (https://www.sas.com/en_us/learn/academic-programs/students.html) provides further information about how SAS supports students.

If I’m a student can I join a SAS community?

Yes – you can join the SAS Analytics U Community (https://www.sas.com/en_us/learn/academic-programs/resources/sas-university-community.html).

How does the Melbourne Business School and SAS collaborate?

Melbourne Business School offers a Master of Business Analytics (https://mbs.edu/education-development/degreeprograms/masterofbusinessanalytics), where you will learn SAS and receive a Certificate in Business Analytics from SAS in recognition of your skill in using its world-leading analytics software.


Saturday 1st July


Registration Opens


Welcome Introduction and Logistics


Challenge Presentation and Q&A


Data Contributors explain datasets
Technical Sessions from Data Republic, SAS and AWS


Lunch Break

Hacking Begins


Dinner Break


Midnight Snack Break

Sunday 2nd July


Breakfast Break


Hacking Concludes


MBS Presentations: Written submissions and pitch guidelines


How to communicate effectively


Closing comments


Kick-off Weekend Concludes

Thursday 6th July


Final Slide Deck submissions due

Friday 7th July


Finalists Announced

Thursday 13th July


Finalists Pitch


Judges Deliberation


Winners Announced

Networking Drinks to follow



Sidney Myer Asia Centre

Address Detail

158/761 Swanston Street, Parkville, VIC 3052