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Data Science topic included in annual Schroders Essay Competition
Author: Pia Nänny
Published: 18/10/2018

The field of Data Science is becoming more and more prominent and it was therefore appropriate that a Data Science topic was included in the annual Schroders essay competition, organised by the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at Stellenbosch University (SU).

The essay competition forms part of a joint investment research initiative that stems from an agreement signed between the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences and the global asset management firm Schroders in November 2015.

The competition, now in its third year, was open to postgraduate students from the Departments of Statistics and Actuarial Science, Business Management and Economics on topics proposed by Schroders and Correlation Risk Partners. Each topic was assigned to a mentor by Schroders and Correlation Risk Partners, who were available via Skype to give advice and practical insight.

The winners – Jacob Kenyon (Optimising Advertisement Placement on Television: A count regression approach); Jannes Reddig (Life Insurance TV Advertising: a data science approach); Michael Hamman (Negative interest rate policy and monetary transmission: the European experience); Clio von Petersdorff (Negative Interest Rate Policy); Kesley Kaps (The future of robo-investing: fact or fad?); Sechaba Mokobane (The future of robo-investing: fact or fad?); Daniela Griffiths (Is climate change a real threat to financial stability?); Bianca Peters (The impact of environmental and social risk on future returns); James Njuguma (Defining and measuring investment risk) and David Rodwell (Defining and measuring risk) – walked away with R20 000 each.

Jacob, a master's student in Statistics, was one of five students who decided to tackle the Data Science topic. He appreciated the opportunity to work on real-world data and said that he had to think outside the scope of what he's learned in class to address the problem.

“It required significant time and effort and it is very satisfying to receive a reward. It was definitely worthwhile," he added.

Photo: Prof Andrie Schoombee (Department of Economics, Prof Niel Krige, Mr Carel van der Merwe (Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science), Kesley Kaps, Prof Ingrid Woolard (Dean: Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Jacob Kenyon, Sechaba Mokobane, Jannes Reddig, James Njuguma, Daniella Griffiths, Bianca Peters, David Rodwell, Clio von Petersdorff, Michael Hamman, Mr Doug Abbott (Schroders) and Prof Willie Conradie (Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science).

Photo credit: Anton Jordaan​