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Top Students and Top Brands Take Part in IT Management Practicum

Strength and value of academic/industry collaboration powerfully showcased via real-world challenges.
MBA Candidate Jonathan King kicks off Team Home Depot's presentation.

MBA Candidate Jonathan King kicks off Team Home Depot's presentation.

The graduate ITM practicum class brought elite students together with top tier tech companies for a powerful collaboration, demonstrating why Scheller’s ITM specialty is consistently ranked top 5 in the nation. Partnering with the student teams, several of America's preeminent tech leaders including Home Depot, NCR, Coca-Cola, Visa, and Mercedes Benz brought real-world challenges for the grad students to tackle. Leveraging their diverse skill sets, the grad students used the semester-long practicum class to conduct an in-depth analysis of the problem and come up with innovative, research-driven recommendations for their client companies.

“The students did an amazing job,” said Professor and Faculty Co-Director of the Business Analytics Center Sridhar Narasimhan who taught the class. “The challenges in areas like digital transformation and business analytics were tough with a lot of depth. And every single team managed to not only ace the challenge, but enhance it with additional information and insights. They definitely came up with impressive, thought-provoking solutions worthy of the corporate international leaders they worked with.”

The teams presented once to their classmates and then a second time to executives from their client company.

final-NCR-practicum-team--Faye-Djiby-and-Adam-Rockett.jpegNCR Challenge: "Analyze and Identify Opportunities to Drive Improvements in Operational Efficiency, Utilizing Incident Data in BMC Remedy,” (L to R: Faye Djiby, Adam Rockett)

 visa-edited.jpgVisa Challenge: “Identity Platform,” (L to R: Vitor Monteiro, Kyle McBride, Juan T.)

Coke-Julie-Kim,-Reza-Kalantari,-Andrew-Wittman-and-Bea-Wang.jpegCoca-Cola Challenge: “Measuring the Success of Technology Services Across the Platform Services,” (Julie Kim, Reza Kalantari, Andrew Wittman, Bea Wang)

Home-Depot---Jonathan-King,-Chike-Rapu,-Colton-Castleberry,-Clive-Thompson.jpegHome Depot Challenge: “Digital Transformation” (Jonathan King, Chike Rapu, Colton Castleberry, Clive Thompson)

The client companies were vocal in praise of the students’ efforts:

“We’ve done two projects in the last three years and love the opportunity to collaborate with Georgia Tech,” said Juan Gorricho, Visa’s vice president, Global Data, Chief Data Officer organization. “The students really did a great job thinking through the challenges with graph technology and developing these types of highly responsive platforms on a massive scale. Tech’s amazing students always get us thinking about great directions, options, and ideas for our strategies.”

“I wanted to take a moment to share how impressed I am with the work Djiby and Adam completed on this project,” said NCR’s Executive Director – IT Services Karen Blackwell. “They provided an advance presentation to us last week and the depth and breadth of their thinking on the incident management process and its challenges delivered potential usable outcomes.” 

The students were likewise happy with what they learned from the class:

“I appreciate that this class gave me an opportunity to partner with industry leaders to solve real-life problems that are relevant today. I found it impactful that we got to work with real data that guided our final proposed solutions,” said Rapu Chike who worked on the Home Depot digital transformation challenge. “Our project helped sharpen my technical and communication skills, as we collaborated with different cross-functional stakeholders from our sponsor company. The skills I gained from this class are directly transferable to my current role, as I lead the IT function at my company.”

“The reason I love this practicum is that, even if you are not an IT expert, there is a big chance, and huge opportunity to work in an IT intensive area anywhere in a company,” said Adam Rockett, an Evening MBA candidate who worked on the NCR challenge. “And with this type of knowledge and experience – you can add great value to the management or leadership role that you already have.”

Evening MBA Candidate Faye Djiby also worked on the NCR challenge. “With a project like this, you have to be able to distill so much information, from so many sources, and be able to condense it and synthesize it into a story that you can communicate. It’s something we can all always learn to do better and is so valuable.”

BAC Managing Director Keith Werle teaches the business analytics practicum classes and attended the ITM teams’ presentations to their classmates. “It’s no coincidence both business analytics and IT Management are highly ranked Scheller College of Business programs. The evidence of how complementary and intertwined they are is the cross pollination you see in both the same top companies who take part AND the number of students taking both practicums. You just can’t beat the combination of great companies and talented students!”

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