As nations gear up to transition to more intelligent job prospects, organisations seek to excel in pioneering job markets, particularly in the technology sector.

Recognising and harnessing the talents of students is crucial for this to succeed. This means providing the right education, hands-on training, and mentorship from academic and industry experts. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and SAS’ Interdisciplinary Partner Project exemplify this by providing students with real-world challenges in the Australian mortgage industry.

Addressing real-world challenges

UNSW students enrolled in the Employability Course’s Practice of Work and Partnered Work Project, collaborated with SAS to develop innovative mortgage origination scorecards. The goal was to address challenges in the Australian mortgage market, characterized by rising interest rates default risks and increased funding costs faced by lenders. Consequently, the Australian mortgage market has become fiercely competitive, giving rise to aggressive lending practices and potential risks for both the banking sector and borrowers.

The teams focused on creating data-driven home loan origination models, segmentation strategies and other analytical solutions.

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“I chose to enroll in the class to be part of the collaborative project with industry leader SAS, bridging the gap between academia and practical industry application,” said Hualong Lin, UNSW undergraduate student studying engineering. “My choice to work with SAS—a front-runner in AI and advanced analytics—stemmed from the project's ambition: To create a data-driven home loan origination scorecard, to enhance risk management and decision-making processes in Australia's mortgage sector.”

Going deeper into the program

Throughout the 10-week course, students engaged in the analytical lifecycle, covering data analysis, visualization, modeling and deployment strategies. SAS provided them with professional support and mentorship in utilising analytics, enabling them to share insights and devise innovative solutions to their challenges. The interdisciplinary nature of the project, involving students from diverse faculties, fostered networking opportunities and collaborative teamwork.

“Participating in this interdisciplinary partner project enhanced my professional profile, developing essential skills in problem-solving, collaboration, effective communication, project oversight, and cohesive teamwork across varied functional areas,” said Lin.

“This was an immersive experience that allowed me to apply the comprehensive academic knowledge I've accrued during my university journey, all while being mentored by industry professionals from SAS.”

Positive outcomes for all

These sessions facilitated mutual learning among student groups. They drew on guidance from SAS industry professionals on the trajectory of their work, offering valuable feedback sessions on presenting analyses in a professional setting.

“Working with SAS through this project provided me with a unique platform to engage and collaborate with industry professionals and peers from diverse backgrounds,” said UNSW undergraduate student Eric Cha, who is studying computer science. “I was able to acquire workplace-relevant skills, ensuring that I am well-prepared for my professional journey.”

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Moreover, these presentations enabled students to cultivate their soft skills in crafting and delivering presentations before large audiences.

“I gained profound insights into a vast array of career possibilities,” Cha added. “As I am actively broadening my career options, working with SAS throughout this course has been pivotal in enhancing my data analysis capabilities and facilitating invaluable networking opportunities through its structured coursework.”

The project concluded with final presentations held alongside the SAS Innovate on Tour Sydney event, a flagship event for business leaders, decision makers and professionals to explore the latest trends in analytics and AI.

It was a pleasure to host some of the best and brightest of our next generation, from our student ambassador community. These students joined the SAS Talent Connect Roundtable at SAS Innovate, where they heard from Riad Gydien, Chief Sales Officer, Bryan Harris, Chief Technology Officer and Jared Peterson, Senior Vice President of Engineering. Also in attendance were other SAS employees, Shukri Dabaghi, Senior Vice President, Emerging Markets and Asia Pacific and Iwona Szylar, Acting Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, who spoke about their experiences joining the company, what excites them about AI and analytics, and what's driven their careers.

It was a privilege to see these students embrace this opportunity, and the event, build connections, and be inspired (and inspire) each other as they take their next step on the path to greatness!

Want to get involved? Learn more about SAS and its academic programs. 


About Author

Senior Analytical Consultant

I am analytics professional with nearly 25 years (last 6 with SAS) experience across a range of industries. As a member of PSD Australia, I focus on the delivery analytical projects for clients in law enforcement, telecommunications and insurance with a particular interest in fraud. I completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (mathematics), at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and an MBA (majoring in marketing) and a masters of analytics (both from Deakin University).

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