July 2, 2022

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Driven to Succeed: Leeds Student Wins Global Racing-Inspired Alteryx Competition | Leeds School of Business

Driven to Succeed: Leeds Student Wins Global Racing-Inspired Alteryx Competition | Leeds School of Business

Claire McCollough is the initially school university student to earn the event, a calendar year immediately after positioning fifth overall.


Claire McCollough celebrates with the Grand Prix trophy at the summary of the race. ‘I could notify I improved drastically from past year,’ she claims. ‘Seeing that amount of improvement by yourself would have been adequate for me.’ Beneath proper, Libby Duane Adams at the Alteryx convention.

The yearly information analytics competition at Alteryx’s Inspire convention is termed the Grand Prix with superior explanation: It’s a whole lot like a race, as “drivers” use the company’s software program to immediately total knowledge analysis difficulties and qualify for the remaining. Even the grand prize—tickets to a Formula One particular race in Texas—are on model. 

Libby Duane Adams in a corporate setting.So, when she was setting up a playlist for her opposition in the finals, Claire McCollough (Acct, IA’21 MAcct’22) did not stray too much from the concept, racing to a soundtrack from the Mario Kart racing game sequence.

“I performed piano for 12 several years, so I’m normally aware of music—I truly choose to do the job in silence, simply because it tends to distract me,” McCollough stated. “But I know I have a tendency to align what I’m accomplishing to the tempo of the new music, so I wanted some thing quick.”

It surely appeared to enable: McCollough grew to become the very first higher education college student in the 14-12 months historical past of the competition to acquire the event outright, performing so a calendar year after positioning fifth in the worldwide party, which functions chief info officers, data experts and other Alteryx ability people.

“I was organizing to take pleasure in myself, simply because I have been undertaking this form of point for fun—so if I capable, wonderful, and if not, no big offer,” McCollough stated. “I knew my probabilities to get in had been slender, simply because I’d have to conquer the most effective of the greatest to even get my foot in the doorway.”

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“Not only have we witnessed her increase and thrive, she has proven us her skills as a chief and mentor by supporting other college students in the software.”

Libby Duane Adams, co-founder and main advocacy officer, Alteryx

Alteryx is an analytics system that aids corporations leverage their knowledge to make superior selections faster—crucial in the digital era, in which speed is very important in determining new prospects and swiftly pivoting to new shoppers, items and markets. The application company’s conference took place in Denver’s Colorado Convention Center, and the return to an in-individual event added a perception of pleasure that was lacking when McCollough competed last calendar year. 

Acquiring a way to emphasis

Libby Duane Adams, co-founder and chief advocacy officer at Alteryx, said she was “proud of Claire’s technique to acquiring expertise and capabilities in knowledge analytics via our SparkED education software. 

“Not only have we seen her grow and thrive, she has revealed us her skills as a leader and mentor by supporting other pupils in our method who want to start their occupations with robust info analytics expertise.”

A lot more: Why Alteryx supports scholarships at Leeds

Part of McCollough’s teaching bundled fixing workflows even though loud audience noises performed in the history. “I’ve usually been good at focusing—you have to be excellent at that if you’re looking through an accounting textbook—so I was equipped to get in the zone onstage,” she reported. 

Headshot of Josh NeilThe live competitors may well have heightened the stakes, but McCollough is an Alteryx professional who’s infused her technical talent into the accounting coursework at Leeds. That sweet spot is where by the accounting division is aiming to deliver all its college students, said Joshua Neil, senior instructor and college director of the master’s method in accounting and taxation. 

“For the previous 5 yrs, we’ve been telling learners this is a incredibly worthwhile intersection, in terms of analytics and accounting, and if you’re into that, we’ll make some courses and instruments readily available for you,” Neil stated. “But it is turn into much more mainstream in the final 18 months. We’re starting to see textbooks arrive out that have resources like Tableau embedded in them, and you see our pupils applying these equipment for the duration of their internships.”

Analytics satisfies accounting

McCollough is now undertaking an internship as a forensic accountant with PwC, in Chicago, employing her abilities in knowledge analytics and her Leeds accounting training to support investigations in spots like fraud, carelessness and valuation. 

Competitions like the Grand Prix are a likelihood for her to flex her Alteryx understanding in a serious-earth location, just what she’s doing so well in her internship. Her Alteryx mastery, in reality, was vital to acquiring nominated as an Alteryx ACE, an elite group of electricity buyers and ambassadors.

“In the competitors, I could explain to I improved considerably from past year, even in my own skills—and truthfully, viewing that amount of enhancement by itself would have been enough for me,” she explained. “It did make the earn more satisfying, possessing to beat the people who gained the last two many years and having to gain in front of all the ACEs I just used the 7 days with. And my parents acquired to be there, far too, since it was in Denver.”

McCollough’s ability with Alteryx goes well outside of the existing accounting curriculum, but Leeds is making adjustments to both of those mirror the growing genuine-world desire for analytics in accounting, as properly as the new organization analytics track within just the CPA license. This fall, Neil explained, an analytics course presented by Kai Larsen is being modified for accounting master’s learners, with an emphasis on bringing in people from field to demonstrate how these skills are made use of to aid accountants do their jobs superior.

McCollough, Neil reported, played a role in assisting to make that take place.

“Data is almost everywhere,” McCollough stated. “There’s a saying that expertise is electric power. In purchase to harness your details, you need to know a thing about it—and if you select to ignore your info, or do not have the techniques to harness it, you’re giving that energy away.”

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