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Analystics showcase

Citadel scouts for prospects at its datathons

Students take part in one of Citadel’s daylong datathons.

Citadel LLC and Citadel Securities LLC are fanning out to universities across the U.S., U.K. and Ireland and challenging data scientists, engineers and computer programmers to out-analyze the competition in a series of 18 datathons.

The Chicago-based hedge fund manager and broker-dealer, which runs $26 billion, devised the competitions to differentiate itself from the many other employers — from the investment industry as well as other sectors — trying to recruit the most-talented young data specialists when they leave academia, said Justin Pinchback, Citadel's head of talent strategy.

“I'm thrilled to provide an opportunity for some of the world's most innovative thinkers to showcase their problem-solving skills through these competitions,” said Kenneth C. Griffin, Citadel's founder and CEO, in a news release.

Hundreds of students applied to compete in each of the first three contests held in February and March at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University, Mr. Pinchback said. Competitors are grouped into teams of four, given a specific problem to solve using a vast data set, and collaborate to map out data analysis, he said.

A panel of judges picks the best solution at each datathon and awards the winning team $25,000. Top prospects from the datathons are invited to wage data warfare at the final Data Open competition in November with $100,000 at stake.

Citadel's reward is a large pool of well-educated, extremely talented potential recruits for positions in quantitative research, data science, software engineering, trading and investment management.

This article originally appeared in the March 20, 2017 print issue as, "Citadel scouts for prospects at its datathons".