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MIS Case Competition Celebrates Another Successful Round

On Friday, October 4th, the Operations and Information Management department hosted its annual MIS Case Competition. Focused on exposing UConn students to real business problems, the competition asked participants to work together in order to create and defend potential solutions. This year, the case surrounded Connecticut Bank, a fictional financial institution attempting to enhance its security measures to further bypass the consequences of identity fraud. Biometric technology was the main focal point across teams–from fingerprint scanners on credit cards to voice authentication for mobile banking applications and call centers.

Throughout the day, each team expressed their business solutions to a panel of judges in the form of a 15-minute presentation. Each presentation was followed with 10 minutes of Q&A, where judges tested teams on their ability to think on their feet. “We asked [students] difficult questions, not because we wanted to give [them] a hard time, but so we could expose [them] to [an additional challenge],” said judge Craig Calvert. The best teams were those who evidently rehearsed their slides and supported each others’ answers when appropriate.

During the Awards Dinner, which followed the competition, students were thanked for their participation. While not all teams walked away with a cash prize (the top award being $500 per person), they each had the courage to tackle the challenge. All teams were given one week to research and design their slides on a topic that is still emerging and, to an extent, theoretical. They had to crunch numbers, scale technology, and generally think for both the bank and the consumer.

Not all winning teams were well acquainted with case competitions. In fact, the first-place team was composed of two first-time competitors: Julia Moody (MIS ’21) and Dean Perkins (Management ’20). Named The Buzzbees, both used their trust in each other and honest feedback to pave their way to victory. “I gained confidence as we went through the process of practicing,” said Julia. “I also learned that having team members with different perspectives can really make a difference in a project.” After Dean and Julia were awarded their first-place certificates, Dean had this to add regarding his experience: “I feel a little bit surprised, but I knew we put the effort in. Our greatest ally was planning and…practicing. We picked on each other and looked for areas of improvement. By the time we got to [the competition], we were relatively calm.” Dean and Julia had a third member of their team who had to drop out due to health reasons, further emphasizing the strength of proactive teamwork.

We would like to extend a warm thank you to those faculty members who volunteered their time to help make the MIS Case Competition a reality.

Interested in the MIS Case Competition? Stay tuned for the next round coming up in Fall 2020.

 

Student Spotlight: Joanne Cheong

Born and raised in Manhattan, NY, Joanne Cheong has always been a forward thinker with a passion for innovation. Throughout high school, she actively participated in various internship and volunteer opportunities that helped her shape her soft skills while experimenting with different career paths. As a current OPIM Innovate lab specialist, her tenacity works to the benefit of everyone, creating “tech kits,” or educational materials, to help others adopt valuable skill sets. Now, Joanne is looking to use her insight on emerging technologies to “drive business value by implementing efficient and cost-effective tooling.” 

In speaking with Joanne, she is clear and confident about her goals and interests, all while carrying herself in a self-assured and poised manner. She is a career-driven professional, yet carries a curiosity that often has her pursuing different hobbies. “Indulging my creative side is a personal passion of mine,” she says. She participates in blogging, bullet journaling, web development, and general content creation. Currently, she is creating a planner application to keep users on track. “I want to provide a convenient tool for those who struggle with time management. It can definitely be a challenge,” she explains. 

From food photography to data analytics, Joanne doesn’t stop at basic knowledge. She loves a challenge, even if it’s self-imposed. This is what led her to pursue Management Information Systems (MIS): “It’s an intersection between both worlds–technical and business–and there can be miscommunication if you don’t have a firm understanding of the two. That’s where we come in as MIS majors: we help bring those worlds together.”  

The MIS major, in many ways, has helped shape Joanne, solidifying her passions while helping her open doors. If it hasn’t been in the classroom, it’s been from working beside Jonathan Moore, MIS Program Director and Founder of OPIM Innovate. “Through every opportunity I pursued and every challenge I faced at Innovate, I further developed my skills. I bettered myself,” she says. Through these experiences, she’s become a better leader: “I consistently improve my functional knowledge. That way, I can help others.” 

Ryan O’Connor, an OPIM adjunct, has also inspired Joanne and her interests, especially in the realm of emerging technology. “His classes on the industrial internet of things and machine learning gave me a perspective on emerging technology I was never exposed to, before. He was also the first person that helped me analyze and apply these concepts in depth. This helped me with future projects,” she explains. Joanne applied internet of things and augmented reality concepts to her internship at Pfizer over the summer. 

In a few months, Joanne will be faced with the challenges of the professional world. In reminiscing about her academic career, she openly attributes a large portion of her growth to her exposure to the professional sphere as a student. “You have to supplement the theoretical concepts you learn in class with real-world experiences,” she says. “It’s a good way to propel yourself forward and prepare for professional challenges.” To that effect, she offers this advice to MIS majors: “Take OPIM special topics courses to explore your interests and participate in case challenges to improve your business acumen. Both will help you gain up-to-date knowledge on the tech industry and are fun ways to test the skills you already have.”

Students Prepare for MIS Case Competition

On Friday, September 20th, 20 students from various academic disciplines joined together to celebrate the Fourth Annual MIS Case Competition Kick-Off. Run by MIS Program Director Jonathan Moore, the Kick-Off introduced these prospective participants to the general rules of the competition and other students (in case they still needed team members).

Interested in participating in the MIS Case Competition? You still have until September 25th to register your team.

For those of you who couldn’t make the Kick-off, no worries! Here’s the information you missed!

 

Great Attendance at First Image Analytics Challenge Workshop

On Thursday, September 19th from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, OPIM Innovate hosted its first data analytics workshop for the upcoming Hanover Image Analytics Challenge. This first workshop, run by Adjunct Professor Ryan O’Connor was “Intro to Data Analytics.” As in the workshop’s name, O’Connor briefed students on the concept of data analytics, presented examples of real-time data collection, and introduced data analysis and visualization tools such as Splunk, Tableau, and Python. There were 40 students in attendance, making this first workshop an incredible success.

As part of the workshop, and to gauge students based on their skillsets and level of interest given certain topics, O’Connor asked everyone to participate in a Splunk demo. After visiting a URL, they were able to answer multiple-choice questions such as “What interests you the most about Big Data?” and see their results in real-time. From responses to questions like the former, as well as from proficiency-based ratings, O’Connor was able to assess potential topics to be covered. He, for example, asked students if they would be interested in learning more about the tools they were more unfamiliar with. This gave students the ability to help shape their own learning.

As stated by O’Connor at the onset of the workshop, there are “tons of options out there” with regard to solutions for the Hanover Challenge. “We’re working with Hanover to give you an experience where you can get exposure to data analytics while working on a real business solution,” Tara Watrous, the project coordinator for the Hanover Challenge, further explained when she introduced the Challenge to students. It is meant to be flexible and open-ended–many proposals can be valuable to the company. However, as stated by O’Connor, “Some of the most challenging problems will be in data cleaning and preparation.” Students must learn how to reap valuable data before analyzing it. The Hanover-sponsored workshops will assist them with both.

While anyone can participate in the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge (and gain at least $100 for doing so), it is also available as a 1-credit elective (OPIM 4895-033). If you are interested in participating in the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge for credit, please fill out an Add/Drop Request Form as soon as possible. For it to be approved, you must have it signed by your advisor and Jonathan Moore. The window of opportunity is closing, so now is your chance!

 

 

Hanover Image Analytics Kick-Off a Success!

 

On September 18th from 6-7 PM, 35 students from all academic backgrounds came to celebrate the onset of the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge at the Homer Babbidge Library. There, they were briefed on the rules of the Challenge, the roles to be assigned to each team member, and the schedule of events. Leading the Kick-Off was MIS Program Director and OPIM Innovate founder Jonathan Moore, who kindly summarized the information in a PowerPoint.

Did you miss the Kick-Off? No worries! Here’s the info you need to catch up!

 

 

While anyone can participate in the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge (and gain at least $100 for doing so), it is also available as a 1-credit elective (OPIM 4895-033). If you are interested in participating in the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge for credit, please fill out an Add/Drop Request Form as soon as possible. For it to be approved, you must have it signed by your advisor and Jonathan Moore. The window of opportunity is closing, so now is your chance!

A Reflection: MIS Meet and Greet

On Friday, September 13th, the OPIM Department hosted its semi-annual Management Information Systems (MIS) Meet and Greet. The event was for students studying MIS, interested in the MIS major, or participating in the Analytics minor. It was a perfect opportunity to learn more about the OPIM Department and OPIM Innovate. There was also ice cream for everyone who attended.

At the Meet and Greet, which was hosted in the Gladstein Research Lab, many emerging technologies were out for display and available to use. This prompted many business-undecided and MIS majors to explore the different tools that may be available to them in their future career paths.

Other than testing out the tech and grabbing some goodies, the MIS Meet and Greet became a place for insightful conversation between MIS majors, Innovate lab technicians, and other students. As stated by Sarah Fletcher (MIS ’22), “I had a lot of fun talking to the OPIM Innovate workers about 3D printing and hydroponics.”

This message also rang true for Vaughn Nengle (Physics ’20), who just recently became an Innovate lab technician with a focus on the 3D printing track. “I was happy to test my knowledge and show others how to work the 3D printing equipment. Even though I could only provide a quick demo, it felt great knowing that I could help cultivate another person’s interest in 3D printing.”

We thank everyone for coming to the Meet and Greet. We hope you had a great time!

A Reflection: Pet Therapy!

On Tuesday, September 10th, the Information Management Association (IMA) and Student Health and Wellness hosted a pet therapy event in the School of Business. There, volunteers from Tails of Joy, a nonprofit pet therapy organization in Avon, CT, brought in their friendly pups to help students unwind from their busy schedules. Every hour, a new dog would come in to interact with the students, giving everyone the opportunity to de-stress with more than one furry friend. Seneca, displayed on the left, was one of the many therapy dogs that came to visit.

According to IMA President Victoria Trautman, providing students with the opportunity to take a moment of self-care was a truly enlightening experience. “We often disregard our needs when there is so much expected of us,” she said. “Just seeing everyone so recharged after a few moments of downtime proves that taking care of ourselves should always be our first priority.” As for the student experience, Riley Wolcheski, a freshman Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major, said that the pet therapy event brightened her day. “When I got here, I instantly felt better. I had a rough day–I’ve been having a stressful week–but just petting the dog was enough.”

We thank Student Health and Wellness, as well as the pups from Tails of Joy, for allowing IMA to put this together.

A Reflection: Hanover Careers in Analytics Panel

On Wednesday, September 11th, the Operations and Information Management Department hosted a Careers in Analytics panel, sponsored by Hanover Insurance. At the panel, professionals from various career fields and levels of experience came to speak with students regarding the impact data analytics has on their individual industries. The lineup consisted of Craig Calvert (Associate Professor, OPIM Department) and UConn graduates Zaineb Haroon (DTLP Specialist, United Technologies), Mahiza Dalal (Business Tech Analyst, Deloitte), and Nofel Khan (ETL Specialist, Marcum LLP). Joining these panelists were also Derek Winkler, Associate Vice President of Data Science, and Kevin Pray, Vice President of Innovation, from Hanover Insurance.

Throughout the Careers in Analytics panel, the general consensus among all speakers was that analytics has revolutionized business processes. Good data has the ability to drive business decisions, create the foundation for valuable discussions, and guide professionals during times of uncertainty. Data especially works well with a guiding question or business problem, which is where analytics professionals come into play. “At the end of the day,” said Derek Winkler, “you need to see what the ultimate business impact is.” Otherwise, the data collected and observed may be useless.

As for the scope of data analytics, both Zaineb Haroon and Craig Calvert gave valuable insight with regard to career expectations and opportunities. “You’re going to learn a lot [when you start working],” said Zaineb Haroon. “Every company has their own practices and their own tools–I would just keep an open mind.” Calvert, to continue the discussion, made it a point to emphasize that “[data] is everywhere” and that successful data analysis can be done with even the most basic tooling. “Especially with data visualization, every time you touch Excel and make charts, you’re presenting data in some format,” he said. Mahiza Dalal, however, still suggested students learn how to use Splunk, Qlik Sense, user behavior analytics tools, and Tableau to expand their analytics skillset.

To close the panel discussion, Derek Winkler and Jonathan Moore introduced the audience to the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge. The challenge, which can be pursued through a one-credit course or as an extracurricular project, presents students with the opportunity to attend free analytics workshops and get paid. All a student has to do is build an interdisciplinary team of four and present their final solution to the Hanover team on November 20th.

For more information on the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge, please attend the kick-off on September 18th or visit the Image Analytics Challenge homepage

 

 

Mark Your Calendars: MIS Meet and Greet

On Friday, September 13th, UConn’s OPIM Department will be hosting a Management Information Systems (MIS) Meet and Greet for students who are studying MIS or are interested in the major. The Meet and Greet will be held in the OPIM Department’s Gladstein Lab, BUSN 391 from 1:00-3:00 PM.

For students new to the MIS major, the Meet and Greet will be a perfect opportunity to learn more about the major, the OPIM Innovate initiative, and the Information Management Association (IMA). In the Gladstein Lab, attendees will be able to acquaint themselves with some of the Department’s emerging technologies, such as virtual reality headsets, microcontrollers, and 3D printing tools. These technologies can then be later explored through various workshops, which are hosted by OPIM Innovate throughout the semester.

The MIS Meet and Greet will also be a great way to get involved with the Information Management Association (IMA), a student-run organization that hosts events related to information technology. IMA frequently invites industry professionals to talk about information technology, their companies, future job opportunities, and other career-related topics.

Giveaways will be up for grabs for those who attend. Please join us for a closer look into the world of MIS at UConn!

Mark Your Calendars: Hanover Insurance Careers in Analytics Panel

 

On September 11th, Hanover Insurance will be hosting a Careers in Analytics panel from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM in McHugh 101. During the panel, seasoned analytics professionals will be discussing the field of analytics, including valuable pre-requisite skill sets, potential career paths, and UConn’s analytics minor.

Information will be provided at the event regarding the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge, which will be occurring later in the semester.

If you are interested in learning more about how data analytics is changing the world at large, now’s your chance!