Practicum Projects Announced

The Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) Class of 2012 practicum projects are off and running. The practicum is a core component of the MSA curriculum that gives students an opportunity to work together on real-world projects with large amounts of data from industry sponsors. This year’s eight projects were selected from 27 proposals made by 20 organizations. New sponsors include eBay, Marriott, Siemens, Elder Research and The Daniel Group. Returning sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, M&T Bank, and Quaero.

The practicum serves as an integrative learning experience at the core of the MSA curriculum. Students are paired into eight teams of 4 or 5 members, and will work throughout the fall and spring semesters. It includes specialized instructional elements to strengthen student capabilities with teamwork, project management, data cleaning and handling, communication, and presentation skills. The practicum culminates in April with team presentations to the sponsoring organizations. Teams are guided by a “coaching staff” of faculty and lecturers who speak on topics related to teamwork skills and team effectiveness. Since the Institute’s inception in 2007, there have been 35 projects from 28 sponsoring companies.

More about this year’s sponsors:

  • eBay – With more than 97 million active users globally, eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything. Founded in 1995, eBay connects a diverse and passionate community of individual buyers and sellers, as well as small businesses. In 2010, the total value of goods sold on eBay was $62 billion. It is headquartered in San Jose, California.
  • Marriott International – A leading lodging company with more than 3,600 properties in 70 countries and territories. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and has approximately 129,000 employees. It is ranked as the lodging industry’s most admired company and one of the best companies to work for.  In 2010, Marriott reported sales from continuing operations of nearly $12 billion.
  • Siemens Medical Solutions USA – A Cary, NC-based unit of Siemens Healthcare Sector, one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry and a leader in medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, medical information technology and hearing aids. Siemens Healthcare employs some 48,000 employees worldwide.
  • Elder Research – The US’s leading consulting company in data mining, predictive analytics, and text mining founded in 1995. Elder has helped government agencies and major companies solve real-world problems by amplifying the productivity of their analysts. Headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, Elder also has a growing office in Washington, DC.
  • The Daniel Group – Based in Charlotte, NC, The Daniel Group specializes in measuring, managing and improving the business-to-business customer experience. It helps its clients improve their customers’ experience through actionable feedback and tools to increase customer retention.
  • M&T Bank – One of the country’s most highly regarded regional banks, M&T was founded over 150 years ago and is now one of the 20 largest commercial bank holding companies headquartered in the U.S. M&T has 14,000 employees located along the Atlantic coast from New York to Virginia, with current assets of $68 billion.
  • Quaero (a division of CSG Solutions) – Using customer intelligence in real-time, multichannel customer interactions, Quaero blends strategy and analytics with performance management and technology to improve the customer experience while increasing overall customer value. Quaero is based in Charlotte.
  • BCBCNC – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.7 million members, including approximately 900,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 77 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance.