Two North-West University students win MiWay 24-hour hackathon

25 top Honours and final-year students from 5 leading universities from around the country took part in the MiWay 24-hours Actuarial Hackathon to conceptualise, design and build an actuarial model.

They took on the challenge of developing a predictive customer retention programme for MiWay insurance - the catch is that they have only 24 hours to think about, design and build a focused customer retention programme from supplied data.

"The event gives students a taste of the things we do at MiWay, all packaged as a fun experience. It also gives students the chance to compete with others, and to possibly take home some prize money and bragging rights. By showcasing their skills, students get the opportunity to be earmarked for future employment", says Jaco Cloete, Head of Actuarial at MiWay.

“This is the second annual event of its type to be hosted by MiWay, and will have a larger prize pool than last year’s event. The modelling challenge will also be even more difficult with a larger dataset and a problem that will require a high level of out of the box thinking”.

The top prize of R20,000 went to duo, Matt Lourens and Dehan Opperman from North-West University, Master students in Business Analytics / Data Mining.

Christian Hitchcock, a University of Pretoria Honours student in Actuarial Science, was the runner-up and won R5,000, while Lebogang Moremi, a University of Pretoria Honours student in Actuarial Science took third-place, winning R3,000.

Lourens and Opperman spoke about winning the Hackathon. Lourens said, "The challenge was tough; we took a very long time to even understand the problem. There was some great help from the MiWay staff. We included some things that we have learnt before or been exposed to and we learnt a bunch of new things as well; this was a great learning experience. It was a nice opportunity for us to see where our knowledge level is based on data science industry standards. We are excited to win, the main goal for us was to learn and the prize money is a great added benefit.

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