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How to ace a datathon

Laura, a data scientist in Madrid, gives you tips and tricks to ace the next McKinsey Datathon.

McKinsey City Cup Datathon is an international competition in which you can apply your machine learning and coding skills to tackle an exciting social challenge. Join us on the 23rd of November in Madrid, Munich or Moscow.

What made you decide to participate in the Datathon?

I wanted to test my analytical skills, and I’ve always enjoyed a good challenge. Also, it was an opportunity to learn more about McKinsey’s work in analytics and connect with others who share my passion for data.

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What did you enjoy most?

Coding and thinking through an issue that affects everyone of us. I also loved meeting new people and working with them.

How did you prepare for it?

Before the Datathon, I went through online courses and books to learn the basics of relevant algorithms and techniques, such as decision trees and regressions. I used platforms such as Kaggle to learn how to translate theory into practice.

What advice would you share with future participants?

Be mindful of time! Try to decide as fast as possible what algorithm you will use and test it. With the first results in hand, you can iterate and improve them over time, deepening your analysis.

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About Laura

I’m originally from Guadalajara, Spain. I have a physics bachelors and masters and a PhD in nanophotonics. I am passionate about data analytics. Before joining McKinsey, I worked at a particle accelerator in Hamburg and as a data consultant in Madrid.

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