December 4, 2023

Undergraduate Student Competition Puts Business Analytics into Action

Undergraduate Student Competition Puts Business Analytics into Action

Working on a real-world project and interacting with business professionals can bring out the best in students, and things get even more interesting when a prize is up for grabs.

On Friday, Nov. 17, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business held its first-ever Business Analytics in Action Workshop. The event served as a showcase for undergraduate students in BMGT434: Analytics Consulting, which sees teams ranging from two to four students working on roughly 15 consulting projects per semester.

“Competition just spices things up,” said Bruce Golden, the France-Merrick Chair in Management Science. “If you want to get good at anything you need to practice. Collectively, students have a much greater chance for coming up with clever ideas to address these projects or problems.”

During the competition, six student teams were tasked with identifying the most optimal healthcare plan offered by the University of Maryland while considering family needs and financial factors. To reach their conclusions, teams applied course concepts, including the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), a model for analyzing complex decisions using math and psychology.

After introducing the audience to their fictional family, each posing unique medical conditions and financial constraints, the teams delivered an overview of their analysis and reasoning behind choosing a particular healthcare plan.

Larry Levy ’82, PhD ’87, COO and executive vice president at RouteSmart Technologies, and John Sammarco, president of Definitive Business Solutions and an adjunct professor at the Smith School, served as judges for the competition and were complementary of every team for crafting impressive and comprehensive presentations.

Team B, composed of Ahmad El-Hindi ’23, Emily Duong ’23 and Nate Ditmars ’24, was declared the victor. They received Smith School's commemorative 25th Silver Jubilee gear in addition to extra points on their project grade. The judges, in particular, admired how the team held the cost-benefit out and presented its cost analysis at the end of the presentation.

In his final remarks at the event, Golden thanked everyone in attendance and commended his students for their commitment throughout the entire process. “I think they’ve worked hard on project number 7, which is what they presented today and that enabled the afternoon to be a success.”

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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