Center for Business Analytics

Undergraduate Curriculum

Business Analytics Track

The Business Analytics Track is designed to provide students with broad, interdisciplinary knowledge and skills that help managers leverage analytics to improve performance and decision making. Students learn practical research skills necessary to design, create, and analyze datasets as well as to report meaningful insights to diverse audiences. Students will appreciate the challenges and opportunities facing a wide array of commercial enterprises that rely on analytics to make key strategic decisions.

An industry-integrative approach has proven beneficial both students and the organizations they work with. Undergraduate students engage with the Center's corporate partners and other small businesses to complete a variety of projects:

Undergraduate project: Sales Forecasting for D.C.-Based Restaurant Chain

The company owns and operates restaurants and bakeries in the D.C. area and wanted to improve the quality of its sales forecasts to lower operating costs.

Before: General managers used forecasts based on the previous year’s sales, coupled with personal intuition.

The Project: A team of McIntire undergraduate students was given sales data for one of the bakeries operated by the company. The team developed a predictive analytics model for sales forecasting.

  • The model incorporated 85 historical variables pertaining to seasonality, holidays, and weather forecasts.
  • The McIntire team evaluated various models, ranging from simple linear regression to support vector machines models that were dynamically updated.

The Results: The proposed models reduced forecasting error-related costs by 33%. If these models are applied across the company’s 12 locations, the company could save an estimated $1.2 million annually.


 


Undergraduate Project: Florist Website

A florist in Northern Virginia wanted to improve visibility for their wedding arrangements product line.
 
Th​e Project: A team of McIntire undergraduate students designed and developed an enhanced Web presence for the business.
 

The Results: The business owner and customers were highly satisfied with the results. In addition, sales were enhanced; Web traffic increased by 113%; and the average time-on-site per visitor doubled.

 

"The Business Analytics track has provided with me with an in-depth understanding of a phenomenon that is on the rise in the business world: 'big data.' Beyond dropping the big data buzzword in an interview, I'm able to discuss the skills I've developed and methodologies I've learned to actually analyze these large volumes of data to produce business insights. I graduated having been exposed to several data analysis programs and techniques that will make me a more valuable asset as companies continue to increase their focus on analytics."
 
Haley Jackson (McIntire ’14)
Marketing Analyst, Applied Predictive Technologies
"By taking the Analytics Track courses, I learned how to effectively analyze data, derive insights, and present my findings to diverse audiences. Every course provided me with an opportunity to solve a real life problem for a real client. The experience of working on data driven projects in a team has equipped me with the necessary analytical, research, and communication skills for my career. Graduating from McIntire with the Analytics Track not only helped me to develop a valuable skill set, but also opened many new doors professionally."
 
Mark Nabor (Comm ’14)
Technology Consultant, Price Waterhouse Coopers