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Krannert students in Industry Practicum course continue to win multiple awards

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

ORMS poster competition winners

Krannert students won first, second, and third place in the ORMS Tomorrow magazine mini-poster competition. This INFORMS publication has sponsored this competition each year “to nurture student researchers in developing the skills to summarize and articulate research ideas effectively and efficiently.”

The competition is judged based on novelty of topic, maturity of content, quality of information engagement, and aesthetics at the undergraduate, masters, and PhD levels. Krannert students who had their work recognized came from Professor Matthew Lanham’s Industry Practicum course, which is an experiential learning course often composed of MS in Business Analytics & Information Management (BAIM) students who work on challenging analytics problems with companies.

According to Lanham, “I have established a culture and expectation of my students to showcase their work. What a pity when a student has invested so much time and effort to do something impactful, and they lack a coach to help them articulate that work externally. You do not have to win to be a winner, but our students always show up in every competition, which has led to several awards that students have showcased about themselves over the years to employers. I’m really proud of all the teams this year, and employers should know that my students will always show up!”

Sakshee Agarwal, an MS BAIM student, won second place in the masters-level competition for her team’s work "Measuring the Comprehensibility of Hindi Text.” This project focused on trying to automate the process of translating languages using natural language processing techniques, which was no easy endeavor.

According to Sakshee, “Working on this project as a part of the industry practicum, under the guidance of Professor Lanham, really helped me gain hands-on experience while enhancing my skills in NLP and Deep Learning, and having a rewarding work experience with a social impact that is close to my heart. For me, having no prior corporate analytics experience, this project allowed me to showcase my analytics skills in an industry setting while also learning how to communicate our breakthroughs to a non-technical audience.”

Kanak Agrawal, another MS BAIM student, won third place in the masters-level competition for the poster "An Analytics-Driven Holistic Stocking and Replenishment Strategy,” which was in collaboration with a window replacement company.

“Industry Practicum with Professor Lanham has really helped me apply my skills to real world data,” Kanak says. “Not only did I gain more experience working with clients, but I also learned more about converting an ambiguous business problem into an analytical problem. The poster presentation and submissions helped me communicate my work clearly, which is much coveted in the industry.” Kanak will be joining Chegg as a business analyst once she graduates this semester.

Hui (Vivian) Zeng and Jiacen (Jessie) Liu, both of whom are Supply Chain and Information Management (SCIA) majors, won first place in the undergraduate division for their work “A Novel Approach to Align Forecasts to Competing Operational Business Outcomes," which was in collaboration with a credit union. According to Vivian, “This project helped me demonstrate my analytical skills, including model forecasting and evaluation mechanism development. Taking analytics courses like this one in Krannert has really helped direct my career path in business analytics, improve my analytics abilities, and better articulate my work.”

Jessie Liu adds, “The Industry Practicum course gives us an exceptional real-world experience to apply and manage data analytics skills to solve critical business challenges. Through client meetings and professional conference presentations, we also practiced our professional soft and interpersonal skills, such as communication, team collaboration, and problem-solving.”

According to Lanham, “Next semester in the Industry Practicum course, students will be submitting their work to professional venues and competitions like INFORMS and others. However, we’ll also have our first in-house Future Edelman Impact Award. This award is our program’s version of the real INFORMS Franz Edelman Award, which is like the Nobel Prize awarded to the company that has used advanced analytics to achieve significant impact to their organization or society.

“Our students will have a chance to frame and pitch their work to previous Edelman finalist coaches, judges, and even a former Edelman Laurette. My hope is that all students who go through this experience will be coaches themselves and champion their organization or client to set the bar higher, to show up, and maybe become Edelman Award winners.”

The latest issue of ORMS Tomorrow showcasing Krannert’s award winners can be found here.