Author: Emily Mineau

MIS Case Competition 2017

On Friday September 29th the Operations and Information Management Department (OPIM) held  their annual Management Information Systems (MIS) Case Competition. A total of 10 teams, each consisting of 4 students, presented their business case solutions to a panel of 3 faculty judges. Each team was given 20 minutes to present their solution and another 10 minutes to answer any of the judges questions.

Not only MIS but multiple majors from the School of Business were represented. The department was extremely please to see students from every class standing participating as well. IMA President and senior Tyler Lauretti says, “it’s awesome to see freshman specifically already getting involved in these competitions. Sooner than not they’ll be running IMA and paving the way for future MIS majors so it’s great that they’re gaining experience this early”. The team ‘NextGen Consulting’, entirely compromised of freshman, also all attested to how the competition was both rewarding and beneficial for them.

The teams spent an entire week researching different types of software and educating themselves on to their highest capability. Belma Pehratovic shared how she initially felt extremely nervous about presenting, however she reflected on a moment of reassurance during her presentation, “I was talking about a software I did not know prior to this week, and I saw someone, who is incredibly educated on the topic, nodding and confirming that my points were correct. It’s such a great experience that not only expanded my knowledge but also gave me new sense of confidence”. Pehratovic’s fellow teammate, Victoria Trautman, thought the competition was eyeopening in the fact that it reassured her, a young female professional, that she had the ability to study, research, and eloquently talk about IT related topics such as this.

Freshman Alexander Zevin spoke candidly about his first case competition experience, “it was a challenge to produce an innovative and feasible solution to present to the judges. We spent many hours researching various emerging technologies that could play a role in solving the University’s unique set of goals. Throughout the week of the competition, we would meet to discuss our findings and truly gain an understanding of the technologies we wanted to bring to the University”.

At the Awards Luncheon on Friday, October 6th the top three teams were announced. . Team “NextGen Consulting”: Alexander Zevin, Alexander Gmuer, Ali Taouil, and Rashad Lum You took first place and were each awarded $500. “Dream Team”: Victoria Trautman, Belma Pehratovic, Chris Connelly, and Joel Thomas took second place and were each awarded $250. “Girl Bosses”: Hannah Bonitz, Radhika Kanaskar, Maggie Howie, and Olivia Villecco took third place and were each awarded $125. All teams received certificates and gift bags as a thank you for participating.



Stamford PySpark Workshop

On Friday, October 6th at 12pm there will be a PySpark Workshop taking place on the Stamford campus.

Participants of the workshop can expect to see the following:

  1. Basic Installation of Spark and Python
  2. Interaction with Pyspark Shell ( How pyspark works?)
  3. Spark Basics and Simple Examples
  4. Basics of working with Data and RDD’s
  5. Transformation and Actions in Apache spark
  6. SparkSQL, Dataframes
  7. Using Libraries with spark( Using Dataframes with Mllib)

You can register at: 

We look forward to seeing you there!

5th Annual UConn BBQ with Cigna

Monday October 16th Cigna will be hosting their 5th annual BBQ Recruiting event. The event is scheduled to take place from 2-6pm on Fairfield Way, with a rain date of Wednesday, October 18th.

Cigna will be recruiting for their TECDP program, a rotational program where interns and full-time employees are able to try different roles within IT, network with peers and executive leaders, and have flexible time to dedicate to different TECDP committees. CS, CSE, MIS, and DMD majors, as well as anyone interested in a career in technology, are all encouraged to attend the event and apply for this opportunity with Cigna.

Cigna TECDP employees are also looking for volunteers to collaborate with for a philanthropy event with Foundation for Hospital Art. Volunteers will help paint murals that will be donated to hospitals. Artistic talent is not necessary in order to participate as these murals are similar to a large coloring books! If you are interested in volunteering contact Jon Moore at

Student Spotlight – TJ Hannon

For junior Management Information Systems (MIS) major, TJ Hannon, Information Technology (IT) is in his blood. His father, who works in IT, got TJ started with his first computer running Windows 98 at a very young age and since then he’s never looked back. Multiple business courses taken during high school ignited his interest in business as well. These two passions led TJ to research programs online and ultimately find University of Connecticut’s MIS major, as he describes it “the perfect cross between a computer and a business degree”.

The wide applicability field that IT provides is what keeps Hannon continuously intrigued to this day. He states “we live in a world where information technology is not only found in every aspect of our lives, but it’s needed. Whether it’s a business or hospital we all need IT”.

Although the IT field is a large one TJ has found an area he is most interested by, architecture. Architecture IT focuses on designing and maintaining networks and databases, essentially the generally infrastructure of IT. Hannon stated, “IT architecture is something that I find fascinating due to the fact that it is extremely broad and particularly useful in a business setting. With an understanding of architecture, you can tackle the largest enterprise problems through IT”.

TJ is an active member of the Information Management Association (IMA). He spoke candidly about deciding to join the groups as it offers countless of opportunities for both MIS and all business majors in general. “It pays to stay on top and ahead of technology when trying to land a career after college. The resources and opportunities IMA provide education on these technologies, as well as relationships with working professions in these fields”, said TJ.

In addition to his involvement in IMA TJ is also a lab specialist at the Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Innovate lab. One of his main responsibilities as a lab specialist is to have a strong understanding and promotion of the Design Thinking process. TJ described the Design Thinking process as a problem solving methodology that promotes creative thinking. While this might seem daunting to some TJ assures that isn’t the case, “it is a multi-step process, which anyone can learn and apply to any idea or task that they want to work through. It is my job to help assist students through this system”. Another responsibilities of his position pertain to emerging technology. For example TJ has recently been investigating several virtual reality technologies in order to apply them to OPIM Innovate’s mission of bringing emerging technologies to students and faculty.

TJ’s passion for architecture IT led him to intern at Travelers in Hartford this past summer, which he described as an incredible opportunity. He worked for Contact Center Technologies providing contract server support for every line of business within Travelers. TJ found this internship not only extremely enjoyable but also very insightful as got him thinking about possibly pursing a graduate degree in data analytics.

During his remaining time at UConn TJ plans to continue taking advantage of the opportunities that the OPIM Innovate lab offers him. He encourages students to make use of the resources found in the OPIM Innovate space to further their understanding of emerging technology.


MIS Case Competition Kickoff Meeting

On Friday September 15th the Operations and Information Management Department (OPIM) held a kickoff meeting for their annual Management Information Systems (MIS) Case Competition. Sponsored by the OPIM Department and coordinated by the Information Management Association (IMA), the competition is based on business cases focused in MIS.

20 students attended the kickoff meeting, some as a team representative and others looking to join or conjoin pairs to make a team of 4. In total 10 teams signed up to participate, two more than last year.  The representatives and remaining teams were given the guidelines and instructions for the competition.

The teams have been finalized as of Wednesday September 19th, and on Friday September 22nd the case will be sent out. The teams will have one week to complete and prepare a case solution presentation. On September 29th the students will present their solution to this real business case to a panel of judges.

Again scholarship awards will be presented to the top three teams, first place will be awarded $500 per person, second place $250 per person, and third place $125 per person. Every participant of the case competition is given the opportunity to test their skills in this real-life scenario to help prepare them for future business endeavors.

OPIM and IMA wishes the best of luck to the participants and looks forward to seeing their presentations on the 29nd!

OPIM Welcomes Back Students


On Friday September 8th the Operations and Information Management Department (OPIM) held an ice cream social reception to welcome back their students. Management Information System (MIS) and Business Data Analysis (BDA) majors, new and returning alike, gathered in the OPIM department to learn about the resources available to them.

Students were welcomed by Jon Moore, MIS Program Director, who highlighted the opportunities and resources available. During this event was also the official opening of OPIM Innovate, which is an initiative to get emerging technology into the hands of students. Attendees were shown the new innovation space as well as the upgrades to the OPIM research lab. Students moved to different stations where they received their major t-shirt, made ice cream sundaes, and were also encouraged to explore the demonstrations going on in the lab. Faculty and student workers were showing off different technologies found in the lab, including Virtual Reality, 3D printing, and Internet of Things.

Freshman MIS major, He Huang, expressed his excitement to attend workshops on 3D printing in particular as he is intrigued to learn more and gain experience of the process. The OPIM department is frequently bringing new forms of technology to the lab and teaching their students about them during their workshops. Lauren Vanfossan, senior MIS major, spoke about her interest in artificial intelligence as it evolves in society, “it will be interesting to see what the lab shows us about the benefits of artificial intelligence versus the negative aspects heavily expressed by the media”.

Over 80 students attended the event throughout the three-hour period. Many of these students were new to the program and came to learn more about what OPIM can offer them. Overall the reception was a success and many students who visiting the space were excited to take advantage of the departments opportunities in the future.

MIS Students Honored with Scholarships

On Tuesday April 25th the Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department gathered to honor a number of students majoring in Management Information Systems (MIS). Over 30 undergraduate students, freshman through seniors, were selected and recognized for their excellence in the MIS program.

Before receiving their scholarships the recipients were praised for their accomplishments by Sulin Ba, the Associate Dean of the School of Business. Ba addressed the students by sharing some of her rewarding personal experiences as a professor in the department and seeing her students develop. She offered encouragement for rising underclassmen to continue their dedication to academic success in the MIS program. She emphasized the skills they acquire as MIS majors will give them a competitive edge as future employee prospects. She concluded by congratulating all the seniors in attendance as they prepare for their next journey in the work force.

Among the students present many were current members of the Information Management Association (IMA). IMA president Tyler Lauretti was pleased to see “a lot of familiar faces from around the department who attended workshops or from IMA being recognized”.  He believes that by the department acknowledging the consistent involvement of these students it will further motivate them to participate in the future. Senior Luke LaBranche was particularly thankful and impressed by the department for continuing to honor and reward graduating students, “it means a lot to know the department cares about not only their undergraduates but also sending off their seniors”.

A word frequently used by the students while describing their experience with the OPIM Department was growth. Senior Marc Senatore spoke about overcoming challenges during his educational career at UConn, such as applying to the Business School three times before being accepted. However he now he feels he is leaving with a profound amount of confidence and knowledge due to the OPIM Department. He recalls coming into the MIS program, “not knowing any coding, and now I consider myself competent to learn any language [of code].” LaBranche described the passion of the department as “incredible” and the professors “always enthusiastic to teach”. The department’s dedication to improvement is what allows students with limited knowledge of MIS content to succeed in their major.

Several students also spoke about the impressive networking opportunities the OPIM Department offers them. OPIM Professor and Assistant Department Head Ramesh Shankar expressed the importance for graduating seniors to come back and recruit MIS students into their companies. Senatore supported Shankar’s advice by sharing how the departments networking helped him: “through a past UConn MIS alum I was able to intern for a company called Synchrony Financial, formally known as GE Capital”. The connections he made led to his recent offer for a full time position at Synchrony Financial.

The OPIM Department would again like to congratulate its scholarship recipients on their impressive academic achievements this semester and wishes the best of luck to the graduating seniors as they begin their new careers.