Since its inception in 1974 the MIS program at The University of Arizona has been at the forefront of applied research with its pioneering work in group decision making, big data management, artificial intelligence and security among others.
Project Market Value
Master’s team projects are an incredible opportunity for firms and not-for-profits to engage a team of highly educated and experienced professionals that have been vetted by a top ranked academic program. Each team will contribute at least 450 work hours towards the client project. Using very moderate contracting numbers, this is equivalent to $35,000 in consulting value, plus an opportunity to observe potential employees in action.
Student Team Profile
The faculty selected student teams typically have five (5) student members who are selected so that each team will have a balanced mix of skills and talents. These students will have the benefit of a rigorous semester of core training in database, data communications and networking, enterprise data management and business communications. In addition, they may also be enrolled in courses in business intelligence, web analytics and business foundations.
Students have outstanding academic records and substantial prior work experience consistent with admission to a MIS program. Past experience and education, Eller education and faculty mentoring result into formidable professional teams that can be leveraged to create significant value for the client.
The success of the projects depends on the active engagement and commitment of clients and the student teams during the project scope formation, execution, and closing. Clients are asked to:
- Provide any data, resources, and background information necessary to complete the project
- Provide a primary contact person(s) that are available for regular status reports, consultation on issues that may arise, and
- Attend a final presentation of the project report
The Eller MIS department is committed to a “no surprises” engagement for the client and constructive feedback for the students. This mandates effective bilateral communication throughout the engagement.
Projects last one semester (15 weeks). Although each project will have its own specific contracted deliverables, all projects will provide the client with a written report of approximately 60-100 pages that gives an overview of the project objectives, the analysis or work done and the results. There is also a final formal presentation with accompanying slides at the end of the semester.
Each project will be based on a signed project contract that will include the following:
- Project/Problem Statement
- Goal Statement
- In Scope
- Out of Scope
- Project Deliverables
- Project Timeline (not to exceed 15 weeks and coinciding with the semester dates)
- Communications Plan
Each student will have approximately 8 hours per week allocated towards the project. This implies a total of approximately 600 man-hours. Project contracts are finalized during the first two weeks of the semester.
Company overview: IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation that manufactures and markets computer hardware and software, and offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.
Project description: The MIS student consulting team worked with IBM and their project sponsor located in the UK to extend the Rational DOORS methodology to support the specific needs of multi company development of medical devices. The key issues addressed included the unique document control and personnel scheduling needs of this scenario. The specific issues related to appropriate management of intellectual property were given particular attention.
Client comment: “This group of students came up with a creative idea that my team can use as a foundation for future product capabilities in an area that we were not even exploring.”
Greg Gorman, Program Director, IBM
Company overview: Kids at Hope inspires, empowers, and transforms families, youth serving organizations (schools, parks and recreation departments, police and fire departments, etc.) and entire communities to create an environment where all children experience success. They serve over 500,000 students across the US and Canada.
Project: The project was to create an interactive and content rich website that supports students in their efforts to visualize their future by using the neuroscience concept of Time Traveler. The Time Traveler guides students in seeing and planning for the future.
Client comment: “We are most grateful for this opportunity to advance our work and to have the support of the Eller MIS Solutions Center. We are extremely pleased with the product.”
Rick Miller, Founder and President of Kids at Hope
Company overview: Levementum is a global demand chain consulting and technology services company. They are the largest SugarCRM solutions provider in the world.
Project: The student team worked on a proof of concept to develop a cloud based Business Intelligence Solutions for the Health Care industry tied to CRM. Editor's note: The result of the MIS student project work is allowing Levementum to enter into a new service practice worth millions in future revenue.
Client Comment: “The student team did very well considering how successfully they adapted to a real world scenario where requirements needed to be further refined, gain a deeper insight on the business need and USE case, and work through numerous blocking factors, setbacks and learning curves. As an example, they continued to persevere with the data model, which required at least 5 major iterations. Additionally they took the initiative to step up and own/drive a number of the tasks on their own, very much the way our internal consultants would manage a project. Overall it was a great result and significant business value for us!”
Kevin Wheeler, Customer Engagement Manager
David Baier, Vice President of Services Delivery
Doug Guilbeau, Managing Partner and EVP of Operations
Company overview: Microchip Technology Inc. is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide.
Project: The team evaluated project portfolio management tool used by Microchip IT and developed go forward recommendations for greater use and value.
Client comment: "The student led project provided an unbiased review of our current status and adoption of our PM tool. We are now implementing several of their suggestions."
Robert Williams, Director of Global Information Services
Company overview: Vantage West is a full-service financial institution. We offer a wide array of personal and business accounts, ranging from savings and checking accounts, to loans, mortgages, merchant services, consumer credit cards and much more. With more than $1.1 billion in assets, Vantage West is the largest credit union in Southern Arizona.
Projects: Two student teams worked on applications and analytics projects that allowed Vantage West to better serve their customers.
Client comment: “The students tackled two projects for us. One project was to build a database for tracking member feedback; the other was focused on our underwriting process and decision outcomes. We were so impressed with the UA MIS program that we are ready for the next round of students to start.”
Jon Bruflat, AVP Enterprise Risk Management, Vantage West Credit Union
Company overview: Walmart, is an American multinational retail corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's third largest public corporation, according to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2012, the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees, and is the largest retailer in the world.
Project: Students worked with Walmart to create a website that supported their use and administration of talent resources.
Client comment: "The team went above and beyond on the project. All members were actively engaged. Great job!"
Project Sponsor, Walmart
Projects: Several teams worked with a Fortune 50 global software developer, where one specific project looked at the productive aspect of IP reuse. Rather than focusing on the negative aspect if IP reuse, such as plagiarism and theft, this project looked at tracking and enabling the productive aspects of efficiency and effectiveness in the reuse of created IP assets in a company versus the continual recreation. This project went beyond word or pattern matching and looked at content, structure, use and style in determining reuse. Another project looked at creating a new application paradigm that delivers greater value and productivity to the enterprise.
Client comment: “The team seemed to work very well together, covering for one another so as not to miss deadlines or drop balls.” “Overall, the team performed very well.” “This was by no means an easy project as it was highly exploratory in nature. Given that, I think the team performed quite well.”
Key Project Sponsors, Global Software Development Firm
The following are MIS Master's spring project comments received from clients. Due to the sensitivity of the projects conducted, names and company references have been removed.
"The team did a great job. They took initiative and provided a great product with unsolicited but very thoughtful additions and additional suggestions for continued improvement."
"They've been terrific. Thank you for the opportunity to work with MIS again. We really appreciate the partnership and the expertise the students provide to our program."
"Thanks for giving us this team...a truly talented group of people who I'm certain will go on to have very successful careers."
"The entire team conducted themselves in a very professional manner...knowing that we were busy, they were very self-sufficient. They demonstrated a very high ability to listen…which helped them ascertain our business and technical needs, structuring the project to achieve a positive client outcome. We will be pursuing the team's recommendations in the following weeks and look to achieve significant business value from the project work."
"The end result was well organized and explained and justified to allow me to go forward to our management team. Thank you very much!"
"The entire team has provided a very valuable tool for our teachers and students. This project will impact thousands and they should be proud of their work. Each team member was professional, communicated well, and displayed good team-work. The team has built a foundation for our e-book to continue to expand with various book languages and expository reading capability for our students. They found software that we can use in both the short and long-term. We are so pleased with the outcome of our partnership with this team. I gave them several challenges to address throughout the project and they met each challenge with a positive and professional attitude. Each team member has special qualities that contributed to the success of the project. I did not have to micromanage the team which is important since I wear many hats. I gave them the assigned task with deliverables that were met and exceeded. The team was also flexible in understanding my schedule and timing."
"We added additional data and requests for analysis throughout the semester; the team was very flexible and willing to work with the additional information to expand the scope of their analysis. Overall, I was very impressed with their research and the outcome of the project."
"I am profoundly proud of this team and how they conducted themselves. They worked tirelessly on this project and went above and beyond the scope of our charter. This team took ownership of this project from the start and produced an exceptional framework for us as a company to implement. We have actually started to implement some of the recommendations provided by this team. This is our third year working with MIS department and this project exceeded all of our expectations. EXCELLENT work by this team!"
"Very creative as well as hard working. To be creative, a team must not only thoroughly understand the project and the goals, but also the boundaries of desired goals including risk and failure. This team was superb in all respects!"
"We are most grateful for this opportunity to advance our work and to have the support of the MIS graduate students. We are very sensitive to the challenges of this project and the short time frame to achieve its goals. We are extremely pleased with the final product."