Challenge Events & Deadlines
The challenge runs from mid-September until December 1st. See all upcoming events and deadlines below:
  • Mon, Sep 15, noon:  Launch event at Ballroom B, 2nd Floor of Campus Center, NJIT.
  • Mon, Sep 22, noon:  Team formation event, Ballroom A, 2nd Floor of Campus Center, NJIT.
  • End of week of Sep 22:  S&P Capital IQ API, Github repositories, S&P Capital IQ accounts provided.
  • Nov 3:  Github freeze + teams must submit a 3-slide presentation via email (see FAQs for contents of presentation).
  • Nov 10:  Announcement of finalists for Nov 17th presentations.
  • Nov 17:  Presentations of Demo S&P Capital IQ at 55 Water Street, New York, NY.
  • Mon, Dec 1, 10am:  Finale at Ballroom B, 2nd Floor of Campus Center, NJIT.
We will email all confirmed participants with the details of our upcoming online training sessions.
S&P Capital IQ is one of the leading providers of financial datasets, research, and analytics in the world. We are headquartered in New York City, but have offices across the globe. In 2013, we launched a unique solution that allows financial services professionals to build presentations collaboratively on the platform by using our rich data. We challenge you to go a step further and use our S&P Capital IQ API to build a complementary tablet visualization application for one of our tools called Quick Comps.
Contest Rules
Do you have a keen interest in software development and the world of visualizing financial data? Join our Tablet Application Development Challenge: a competition for undergraduates running from mid-September until December 1st, 2014, jointly organized by the NJIT College of Computing Sciences, The School of Management, and S&P Capital IQ.

What is the task at hand?

Imagine that the CEO of a large corporation asked you to build a custom tablet app to help him keep track of the competition, as well as to compare potential acquisition targets to one another. A tool like this called Quick Comps does exist on the S&P Capital IQ platform, but we ask you to make it accessible from anywhere by transforming it into a native tablet application and reimagining its look, feel, and interaction model. Furthermore, we will be giving you access to our S&P Capital IQ API, which will allow you to make all the data on your app live. See FAQs for more info on Quick Comps and the S&P Capital IQ API.

We ask you to form teams of 3-6 students (see FAQs on forming teams) consisting of engineers and business/financial analysts. Through training and the provided materials on this website (see FAQs), you will learn about Quick Comps and the S&P Capital IQ API. Then, you will come up with the design and specifications of your tablet visualization app. You will have until November 3rd to build its key components and send us your Github repository, as well as a brief PowerPoint presentation outlining your idea. Teams who have made good progress will be notified that they are finalists and invited to present their application on November 17th at S&P Capital IQ. We will give you tips on how to refine your design so that your final presentations at NJIT on December 1st are more successful. On December 1st, all finalists will present again at NJIT, and the winners will be chosen by a panel of judges. For more info on timeline, see FAQs.

Who can participate?

This competition is open to all NJIT Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors with a keen interest in financial technology and software development. If you are a Developer, you should know .NET, Java or any other language that supports Web Client development. If you want to be your team’s Business Analyst, you should have an idea of how to solve the business problem, work with others to develop a software application, and help with the pitch.
  • Students must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents or hold the appropriate VISA status to be eligible for any and all awards/prizes/stipends
  • Students will be asked to provide their NJIT ID as well as their current postal mailing address

Sounds like an interesting challenge. But what’s in it for me?

By participating in this contest, you will expand your knowledge of software development for tablet, learn how to use and visualize financial data, improve your teamwork abilities, polish your presentation skills, and network with professionals in financial services and technology.

Okay, great. But what about tangible awards?

We’ve got those too! Every participant who presents their team’s application on November 17th at S&P Capital IQ’s offices will receive a $200 cash prize, and will be considered for a summer internship opportunity at S&P Capital IQ. The winning team will be determined after the final presentations on December 1st at NJIT by a panel of judges. Each winner will walk away with another $500.

I’m interested, where can I sign up?

You can sign up here with or without a team, and attend the official Kick-off on September 15th at noon at Ballroom B, 2nd floor of Campus Center in order to confirm your participation and learn more. There will be FREE food!

I have a question, who can I contact?

Come to our launch event on September 15 and attend our upcoming training sessions (see Upcoming Events). You can also email us at lab@spcapitaliq.com.

I have never used S&P Capital IQ before. Will there be training throughout the challenge?

Not to worry! You can learn about S&P Capital IQ API and Quick Comps on this website (see FAQs) and/or attend one of our upcoming training sessions for confirmed participants.

We will also give you feedback on how to improve your applications during the November 17th event at S&P Capital IQ’s offices in New York, NY. More details on this can be found in the FAQs.

FAQs
Contest Rules and Timeline
What is the timeline of this contest?
The challenge runs from mid-September until December 1st. See all upcoming events and deadlines below:
  • Mon, Sep 15, noon – Launch event at Ballroom B, 2nd Floor of Campus Center, NJIT.
  • Mon, Sep 22, noon – Team formation event, Ballroom A, 2nd Floor of Campus Center, NJIT.
  • End of week of Sep 22 – API accounts, Github repositories, S&P Capital IQ accounts provided.
  • Nov 3 – Github freeze + teams must submit a 3-slide presentation via email.
  • Nov 10 – Announcement of finalists for Nov 17th presentations.
  • Nov 17 – Presentations of Demo S&P Capital IQ at 55 Water Street, New York, NY.
  • Mon, Dec 1, 10am – Finale at Ballroom B, 2nd Floor of Campus Center, NJIT.
 
When are the training sessions? Are they mandatory?
We will offer four training and Q&A sessions once the competition kicks off. You will only need to attend one or two of those to get an idea of how to get started, and each session will be less than an hour long. We will email all confirmed participants with the details of the upcoming training sessions. These sessions are not mandatory - we just wanted to make it easier for you to win!
 
Who can participate?
This competition is open to all NJIT Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors with a keen interest in financial technology and software development. If you are a Developer, you should know .NET, Java or any other language that supports Web Client development. If you want to be your team’s Business Analyst, you should have an idea of how to solve the business problem, work with others to develop a software application, and help with the pitch.
  • Students must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents or hold the appropriate VISA status to be eligible for any and all awards/prizes/stipends
  • Students will be asked to provide their NJIT ID as well as their current postal mailing address
 
How does team formation work?
For this challenge, you can sign up as teams of between 3 and 6 NJIT undergraduates with the following roles:
  • 1 or 2 Business Analysts - Students who will be acting as project managers, and also gathering business requirements for the application, designing interaction model and visual mockups, and preparing the presentation materials and demo/pitch.
  • 2, 3, or 4 Engineers - Students who can build a mobile app using Objective C, Java, or .NET. They will be responsible for connecting to the S&P Capital IQ API and building the native Quick Comps tablet app using financial data from the API
Students can sign up together as teams here (just list your teammates in the appropriate section) AND in person at the Kick-off on September 15. The form also allows you to request that we help you find teammates, in case you want to participate, but do not have a complete team. We will also have a team forming event on September 22 where you can meet potential teammates. See Upcoming Events for times and locations.
 
What happens after we form teams?
We will provide each team with S&P Capital IQ accounts, access to our S&P Capital IQ API, private Github repositories, and, most importantly, training on how to make use of these tools.
 
What are we supposed to submit on November 3rd?
On November 3rd, we will be reviewing your Github repositories in order to assess whether your team has made progress. We do not expect to see code that is perfect, but it needs to be clean, neat, and readable. If you are coding in Java, you can refer to the best practices of Joshua Block, as outlined in Rajesh Krishnamachari’s summary here. If you are using a different language, please stick to the industry-accepted best practices of coding for that language. You can access Apple's guide on Objective C here.

You should have most of the intended functionality of your application working, and should be using live data from the S&P Capital IQ API. In essence, your application should “build and run.”

We also request that you send us a brief PowerPoint, containing just 3 slides:
  1. What is the name of your team, who is on it, and what is each member’s respective role?
  2. What are the specifications of your application and what is the progress so far for each of them?
  3. What will your app look like? Show us a few mock-ups.
 
How will you determine which teams will present on November 17th?
We will review your Github repositories and presentations, and will invite a maximum of 15 teams who have made the most progress, have the most original visualization idea and the best code.
 
What should we present on November 17th?
Be ready to demo your semi-finished product to our technical team (a maximum of 10 minutes per team). We will provide constructive feedback as to how to improve your applications for the finale. We will also provide lunch, and will finish the day with a tour of our headquarters.
 
What should we present on December 1st?
You should be ready to demo your finished product to our panel of judges. We will provide more details on the exact setup of the Finale as the date approaches.
 
How will you choose the winners?
On December 1st, we will select the winning team based on the following weighted criteria:
  • Originality/Creativity (50%)
  • Simplicity/Scalability (25%)
  • Quality (25%)
 
How can I get an S&P Capital IQ and GDS API account?
Sign up for the contest here, and make sure to attend our kick-off on September 15 in order to confirm your participation. We will be creating accounts for each team during the week of September 22.
 
How can I learn how to use S&P Capital IQ API and website?
You can learn about them from our Tech FAQs and/or attend one of our upcoming training sessions for confirmed participants.
 
Contact Info
Will someone be helping my team through the contest?
Yes, we will host online training sessions to help you get started. Feel free to attend one or more of them.

Wednesday, October 1 – 2:30 pm
Please join my meeting.
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/join/601585482
Meeting ID: 601-585-482

Join the conference call:
Dial-in: 603-657-7501 / US Toll Free: 866-635-4990
Conf ID: 7214512

Friday, October 3 – noon
Please join my meeting.
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/join/624650634
Meeting ID: 624-650-634

Join the conference call:
Dial-in: 603-657-7501 / US Toll Free: 866-635-4990
Conf ID: 7214512

Monday, October 6 – noon
Please join my meeting.
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/join/631175194
Meeting ID: 631-175-194

Join the conference call:
Dial-in: 603-657-7501 / US Toll Free: 866-635-4990
Conf ID: 7214512

Wednesday, October 15 – 2:30 pm
Please join my meeting.
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/join/708181922
Meeting ID: 708-181-922

Join the conference call:
Dial-in: 603-657-7501 / US Toll Free: 866-635-4990
Conf ID: 7214512

Wednesday, October 29 – 2:30 pm
Please join my meeting.
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/join/776706578
Meeting ID: 776-706-578

Join the conference call:
Dial-in: 603-657-7501 / US Toll Free: 866-635-4990
Conf ID: 7214512

Friday, October 31 – noon
Please join my meeting.
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/join/113166114
Meeting ID: 113-166-114

Join the conference call:
Dial-in: 603-657-7501 / US Toll Free: 866-635-4990
Conf ID: 7214512

 
I have a question, who can I contact?
You can email lab@spcapitaliq.com with any technical or contest-related questions. We highly recommend reading all FAQs before emailing us, and attending a training session.
 
Internships at S&P Capital IQ
You mentioned that I can get an internship with S&P Capital IQ, how does that work?
During this competition, you will get to present in front of our top technology executives at S&P Capital IQ. In addition, high-performing participants who have applied for an internship or full-time position will be invited to interview with S&P Capital IQ. You can apply to work or intern with us here: http://www.njit.edu/cds/cdslink.php or directly on our website.
 
How can I learn more about internship opportunities?
We invite you to stop by the S&P Capital IQ table on Wed, Oct 1, 12:30-5pm during the NJIT Career Fair at NJIT’s Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center & NJIT's Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility, Newark, NJ.
 
What is an internship at S&P Capital IQ like?
You can read about the internship experience here: http://thevirtualcooler.com/2013/09/sp-capital-iq-intern/ and here: http://www.mhfi.com/careers/college

As you will notice, we love organizing competitions, and keeping our interns interested and happy. You can also get a sneak peek of our super-cool headquarters here. We will also give you a special private tour on November 17.
 
Business Analysis Questions - Quick Comps
What is Quick Comps?
Quick Comps is a tool on the S&P Capital IQ platform, which allows financial market professionals to make comparisons between a company of interest and other similar companies on the basis of a set of customizable metrics.
 
Who uses Quick Comps?
Quick Comps are used for research by financial market professionals, among which are investment managers, investment bankers, and private equity firms. Investment managers use Quick Comps in order to compare possible investment opportunities when investing a client’s money in shares of publicly traded companies; investment bankers use the tool in order to differentiate among potential acquisition targets. Finally, private equity firms use Quick Comps in a way similar to that of investment managers, except the former buy entire companies and the latter buy shares of companies.
 
How are Quick Comps used?
For the most part, Quick Comps is used to gain a quick understanding of a company’s peer group or competitive landscape. Except for cursory analysis, Quick Comps is not usually where an analyst will end their research, but rather a starting point. For example, an investment banking analyst may use Quick Comps to quickly assess the relative value of a company and how the company is performing within its peer group, but will continue to perform much more in-depth analysis of the company. In this case, using Quick Comps would either be for getting a feel for the industry or for pulling particular data points for a report or presentation.

You can read more about using Quick Comps here (S&P Capital IQ credentials required): https://www.capitaliq.com/help/sp-capital-iq-help/company-profiles/quick-comps.aspx
 
What are some examples of using Quick Comps per user type?
A private equity analyst can use Quick Comps to identify potential acquisition targets for further research. For example, if an analyst is using Quick Comps in order to learn more about Wendy’s, they may determine that the company has margins that are relatively poor and is also trading at a discount when compared to its peers. A company like this could potentially be a target for the private equity firm to buy, find new management for, and sell later at a profit.

If a hedge fund manager is researching McDonald’s, they will likely be interested in how McDonald’s stacks up relative to Burger King and other competitors across a variety of metrics. If an analyst looks at margins across the peer companies for McDonald’s, they will be able to quickly determine how the company’s operating performance compares to other companies in the fast food industry.

Taking a look at Quick Comps can also spark new ideas. If an analyst is interested in McDonald’s, but finds that Panera Bread has much more attractive attributes, the analyst may take a closer look at Panera Bread as well.

Quick Comps also provides some Summary Statistics, showing the high, low, mean, and median values of each metric used for comparison among companies.
 
Why would Quick Comps be a good application to have on a tablet?
Quick Comps is a tool intended to make light research fast. As such, it is a tool that can be useful on a mobile device such as a tablet, especially if financial data is visualized. While an analyst working on in-depth research will likely find a mobile device insufficient, those who are only taking a quick glance are likely to find a tablet app useful, especially as a refresher while on the go, or to gather talking points for an upcoming presentation.
 
What metrics are relevant for Quick Comps?
Financial professionals use a lot of metrics when evaluating a company. However, there is no correct metric or set of metrics, as research methods can vary widely between analysts and the purpose of the research. The following list of metrics can be a good starting point, but is by no means comprehensive.

Company Overview
  • market capitalization
  • shares outstanding
  • total revenue
  • net income
  • share price
Valuation Metrics
  • P/E
  • EBITDA
  • TEV/EBITDA
  • TEV/Total Revenue
  • Return on Equity
  • Return on Assets
Again, this is not a comprehensive list, and analysts are likely to create their own templates of comparison metrics, depending on their research purpose. Any other data that is accessible or relevant can be used as well, such as transaction data, key developments, estimates, etc.

If you’d like to choose from all available metrics related to Quick Comps along with their mnemonics accessible through our API, click here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16x4KQMoi40A8bQ7gf9Bx24mrjL7Biw-LOjnIVC6VDkM/edit#gid=406122838 And we cover the basic usage of the API with mnemonics in the section of Tech Questions.
 
Are there any other examples of tools similar to Quick Comps?
Aside from the Quick Comps tool offered by S&P Capital IQ, a couple of websites have some simple versions of Quick Comps. If you are looking for some ideas about quick comps, check out Morningstar’s and Google Finance’s implementation.
 
How are the Peer Companies in S&P Capital IQ’s Quick Comps determined?
Once you set a focus company on Quick Comps, we automatically compare it to its peer group (see Tech FAQs for instructions on how to pull up the peer companies list using our API). For example, some of the companies in Google’s Quick Comps are Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AOL, and Yahoo. Peer companies on S&P Capital IQ are determined by a number of factors, which include company locations, industry, and size. For a company to show up as a peer company, it should be in the same global region, similar industry, and similar in size to the focus company (in the example above, Google). Companies with public financials and recent trade history are prioritized, as are companies which are covered by the same analysts.
 
What are the top 5 specifications that a tablet version of Quick Comps should have?
This is something that the Business Analyst(s) on your teams should help determine, but we have listed some suggestions below. This list is neither complete, nor mandatory, so be creative!
  • ability to add/remove metrics and set groups of them as default
  • ability to display peer group for a company and add/remove from this list
  • ability to quickly sort companies and see those which stand out
  • ability to visualize the values of metrics of a peer group through color, positioning, size and/or shape. For example, in a bubble chart, the color of a company could mean belonging to an industry, the size of its bubble could be market capitalization, and the positioning relative to the axes could say something about the values of their share price and total revenue. Another possible approach could be to use a heat map in order to show companies that stand out in terms of the values of their metrics. Visualization is the aspect of this challenge that allows your team the most creativity and originality, so take advantage of the opportunity to stand out!
  • ability to export visualizations as images for later use.
Most importantly, we expect you to be making use of the data from the S&P Capital IQ API.
 
Where can I access Quick Comps?
Using your S&P Capital IQ username and password (to be provided to confirmed participants) log in to www.spcapitaliq.com. Go to any Company Profile using the search bar, then click on Peer Analysis, which is one of the left links. Under it, you will find Quick Comps. The goal of this challenge is to turn this tool into a self-contained native tablet application and add some visualization aspects to it. We will be providing a training session on how to use Quick Comps right after team formation, but feel free to learn about the tool on your own as well.

You can read more about using Quick Comps here: https://www.capitaliq.com/help/sp-capital-iq-help/company-profiles/quick-comps.aspx
 
Where can I find recordings of the Business Analyst training session?
 
Tech Questions - S&P Capital IQ API
What language should my application be written in?
The client libraries are available for both .NET and Java development. Additionally, the API JSON Direct request method is available for any language that supports Web Client development and the HTTP Post method.

You should choose a language based on your team’s skills and preference.
 
I don’t have an iOS or Android tablet. Can I still participate?
Yes, you can use a free tablet simulator. Here are some links to get you started:
 
Where should I host my application?
You should host your application locally on your laptop so that you can demo it to us on November 17. Additionally, we will provide secure GitHub repositories for your team to collaborate.
 
What is the S&P Capital IQ API?
The S&P Capital IQ API offers fast, secure access to our extensive data sets on demand, including all data that you will need to pull and display in order to recreate Quick Comps on a tablet.

Using the API, developers can either build client library applications that use secure web services to dynamically access our data sets or bypass the client libraries and make requests using web service direct.

You will need to use data from one or more of the following data categories:
  • Fundamentals (Financials)
  • Industry Classification
  • Market Data
  • Equity Ownership
  • Valuation
  • Ratios
  • Credit Ratings
 
Is there a detailed guide on how to use the S&P Capital IQ API with sample code?
The document below should contain all information you need. If you still have questions, attend a training session or email us at lab@spcapitaliq.com.
 
Code .xml Files from Tech Training Session.
The file below contains all of the .xml files from the tech training session. If you still have questions, attend a training session or email us at lab@spcapitaliq.com.
 
Where can I download the .NET and Java API Client Libraries?
Links to the most up-to-date API downloads for each library will be provided during the week of September 29th on this website.
 
Where can I find recordings of the Tecnical training session?
 


Help / Contacts
You can email lab@spcapitaliq.com with any technical or contest-related questions. We highly recommend reading all FAQs before emailing us, and attending a training session.