What is it?
The Melbourne Business School’s ‘Business Analytics Datathon’ is aimed at showcasing how advanced analytics can ‘Transform decision making in business analytics’. The final data sets and question will be revealed on the kick off weekend.
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 Datathon pitches will be held as part of the finale at the MBS Virtual Business Analytics Conference. Participants will have the opportunity to present in front of 900+ Australian senior executives and 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 2021



Saturday 27th February
Start: 8.30am

Sunday 28TH February
End: 11.59pm

Thursday 4th March

Week Commencing 15th March
MBS Virtual Business Analytics Conference 2021



The Business Analytics Datathon in February 2021 will be hosted virtually


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.

No, you can’t use additional publicly available data.

What technology platform will be used? For how long?

MBS has partnered with SAS, Zetaris and DXC to ensure that your team has the best tools for the job! The data will be available on Zetaris’ Cloud Data Fabric, and through the SAS analytics solutions you will also be able to use open source software like R and Python and also Excel.

Do I need to have a team?

Registrations are only open to teams of 4-6 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 900+ people.

What will be the criteria?

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.

Is the Datathon free to enter?

Application and participation in the Datathon is free!

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 Virtual Business Analytics Conference in March 2021?

To be eligible to enter and win the Datathon, all registered teams must attend the morning session of the kick-off day Saturday 27th February 2021 to register, receive the datathon challenge, discuss the rules and logistics.

If your team is selected as a finalist, you will need to pitch in front of judging panel and audience at the MBS Virtual Business Analytics Conference on the week of 15th March 2021.

What are the other rules?

You can only enter teams of 4-6 participants. You can only be a member of one team. You can’t enlist any help from anyone outside your team. The only data sources allowed to be used for the Datathon will be on the Zetaris platform and you must reference on each slide the data sources used for each analysis. 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 sponsors are not eligible to win prize money, although they can be judged finalists. Data contributors are eligible to win prize money as long as they don’t exclusively use their own data, and their own data does not represent more than 25% of the data used for analyses (all data sources used for each analysis must be specified on each slide).


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. The SAS Studio web browser interface will also be available.

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 tutorials explaining how to get started as well as how to manage and visualize data. The virtual learning environment also includes tutorials showing how to program in SAS Viya, use SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Visual Statistics and how to use SAS Studio.

How do I access SAS Viya for training purposes?

Access to SAS Viya and SAS Studio will be provided via the SAS virtual learning environment.

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

Check out the SAS Video Portal and the tutorial library – video.sas.com
Also, SAS provides a range of free training – sas.com/freetraining
Plus, you can view or signup for free webinars – sas.com/webinars
And select one of the free SAS eBooks – sas.com/books

Download SAS University Edition for learning purposes for FREE – sas.com/universityedition
Get access to SAS Viya for Leaners – sas.com/en_us/software/viya-for-learners.html
Check out the FREE SAS trials – sas.com/trials

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

The SAS Academic Program Student site (sas.com/students) provides further information about how SAS supports students.

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

Yes – you can join SAS Communities (communities.sas.com)

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.

Can I use R and Python?

You will be able to use R and Python in a totally normal fashion, that is without having to use or connect to SAS, from a provided virtual Windows desktop (the Zetaris Cloud Data Fabric) that you connect to from your own laptop or device via a web browser. For security and data licensing purposes the data doesn’t leave this secure desktop “Cloud Data Fabric”, so you won’t be able to download the data to your own laptop and then work with it in your own installed tools for example. Zetaris are providing installations of R + R-Studio and Python + Jupyter on the Workspace for you to use, and SAS will be accessible from the Workspace via web browser, as well as through APIs if you want to use these.

While R and Python are independent, you will have the *option* in R and Python on the Workspace to use the provided SAS REST APIs to connect to your team’s SAS server, in order to call SAS capabilities from R or Python. You can read about these here – these are totally optional:




Datathon Virtual Check-in

Saturday 27th February 2021


Welcome Introduction


Welcome Introduction and Logistics, datathon questions announced and data sets provided

Hacking Begins


Hacking Ends

Sunday 28th February


Submissions Due

Thursday 4th March


Finalist Pitch

Week commencing 15th March

MBS Virtual Business Analytics Conference



Get in touch with us at cfba@mbs.edu