Two Rice Students Attend Prestigious MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston

Two Rice Students Attend Prestigious MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston

Abhijit Brahme ’18 and Jason Gardner ’21 attended the 12th Annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, MA, this past February.

Open to anyone interested in sports, the conference provides a forum for industry professionals and students to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the global sports industry. Two students at Rice took advantage of this great opportunity to listen to research paper presentations and speaker panels including 44th President Barack Obama, former NBA players like Chris Bosh and Shane Battier, and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Brahme, a senior majoring in Computational and Applied Mathematics (CAAM), was able to attend the conference through his data analytics internship with the Houston Rockets this semester, one of many internships offered by the Department of Sport Management.

Gardner, a freshman double majoring in CAAM and Sport Management, met Brahme through their residential college, Weiss. According to Gardner, Brahme was a mentor to him throughout the year, and they decided to attend the conference together.

While many of the attendants are industry professionals looking to learn and apply the presented advancements in their field, the conference also provides current students interested in joining the sports business world with learning opportunities and advice.

2018 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

“The main overall sentiment from all the speakers was the emphasis that we, as students, need to get our foot-in-the-door as much and early as possible by doing any independent work with public data to show initiative,” Gardner said.

A prestigious event, the conference can be a kickstart to anyone’s career. Ben Jedlovec ’08 attended the very first conference in 2007 with Rice Sport Management professors Dr. Clark Haptonstall and Dr. James Disch. In 2013 at the 7th Annual Conference, Jedlovec was a speaker on the Baseball Analytics panel. He is currently the Director of Engineering for Data Quality for Major League Baseball.

Courses at Rice prepare students to enter their industries of interest. Opportunities like the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and other internships offered through the Department of Sport Management help the students get involved today.

“The research paper presentations were probably my favorite talks,” Gardner said. “They gave me a sense of how I can get more involved in the field and motivated me to start my own paper or project with fellow Rice Sport Management major Connor Ayubi.”

Whether finishing up their first or last year at Rice, Gardner and Brahme are excited to apply what they learned at the conference.

Mai Pham, a junior from Houston, Texas, is double majoring in Sport Management and Economics and minoring in Business.