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.
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
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.