Nicholls Business Analytics Impresses in First Competition

Business Analytics Team (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University) 4/30/21

THIBODAUX, La. — A team of Nicholls State University students placed second in the 2021 Business Analytics Competition at Manhattan College.

Known as BAC@MC, the annual competition took place virtually from April 30 to May 1. The competition engages teams in the “art and science of decision-making.” Case studies challenge the teams to draw “business insight from a comprehensive analysis of relevant data.”

“I am so proud of their performance. Our students were flawless for the entire competition,” said Dr. En Mao, professor of CIS and the team’s faculty mentor. “I did not ask them for perfection, but they delivered it. This is huge for our students and Nicholls. It’s a validation to the quality of the education they are receiving here.”

The Nicholls team includes Wendy Zhang, Sandesh Sharm and Casey Labat. This is Nicholls’ first year to compete.

The 2021 case study centered on creating homeownership and stability in New York City. The teams analyzed the data and summarized their findings in a poster and video. In the second round of the competition, the team presented to a panel of judges made up of data analytics professionals. Each round also included a question-and-answer session. Judges totaled points from each round to determine the winners.   

Dr. Mao said the competition challenges the students’ ability to analyze information and tell a story using their analysis.

“I saw tremendous growth in every aspect ranging from technical, leadership and social skills in all three students over three months,” Dr. Mao said. “Their dedication, grit and commitment far exceed my expectations. These competitions speed up the learning process. The best outcome is that they appreciated this learning experience even though it was time-consuming.”

Among the 28 competing teams were students from Ball State University, California State University in Bakersfield, Elon University, Kansas State University and the University of Notre Dame. Judges included educational and industry leaders in data analytics from across the country.

“I always tell my students to believe they are getting a world-class education here at Nicholls,” Dr. Mao said. “Their educational experiences determine the value and the success level of their college careers. It’s about seizing opportunities. I want to continue to build Nicholls’ competency in analytics and data literacy.”

Nicholls CIS prepares students to enter innovative careers by teaching them technical and managerial skills and offering immersive hands-on experience. Aside from their coursework, CIS students experiment with installing and testing local area networks in a specialized computer networking laboratory. As the business world moves more toward a paperless society that requires data analyses, the demand for computer information systems graduates with experience increases.For more information on Nicholls CIS, visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 17, 2021

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