How do you recruit top data scientists in a highly competitive job market? Get creative!

January 22, 2019 | Michael Bell

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to chair our second annual data competition, and mentor, along with co-workers from our data science, analytics, and strategy teams, fourteen college students through the event.

It was a blast!

In our quest to recruit the best and brightest analytical minds, we strive to make college students’ first experience with our company more engaging than the typical recruitment process. Each year, a group of two-student teams from colleges across the northeast are selected to participate in Agero’s three-day on-site Data Education Program at our Medford, MA office.

This fun, interactive recruiting program works well with our innovative culture. It provides students with real-world exposure to our business and how we use data to drive insights and innovation. On the last day of the program, participating teams compete to solve a real-life business problem using knowledge gained in the first two. Each team works with a mentor to analyze the data and develop a set of findings and recommendations. They end the last day by presenting their findings to a panel that includes members of Agero’s senior leadership team.

Seeing fourteen young, bright, and enthusiastic data scientists in the making, competing with their ideas and demonstrating the very analytical skills that will be expected of them in their future careers, was both inspiring and exciting.

This year, Prim Chen and Lisa Wang, both currently graduate students at Bentley University, won the competition. The challenge was no easy feat. We asked each team to analyze a large dataset of transactions and develop methods to identify supply/demand imbalance, either proactively or in real-time. They were also asked to propose data-driven solutions to improve service during such times. Prim and Lisa demonstrated a remarkably deep understanding of our business despite only a couple of days of introduction, and proposed a unique idea for categorizing service providers and adding extra capacity during times of peak demand. They really blew us away with their insight!

Although their paths may steer Prim, Lisa and the other twelve students in different directions, we hope some will lead back to Agero. But whatever the end result, we are proud to have contributed to their development, and wish them all a bright and fun future.

Michael Bell | Senior Data Scientist

Michael Bell is a Senior Data Scientist at Agero. He and his team use data, advanced analytics and machine learning to help drivers in need - everything from detecting a car crash using a smart phone, to predicting breakdowns in a city during a severe weather event to improve service. 

Before joining Agero, Michael was an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Munich, studying cosmic magnetism and developing new algorithms to apply to data from radio telescopes. He obtained his PhD in Physics from Brandeis University.