The Center for Business Analytics at the Rady School of Management enables businesses to create value and sustainable competitive advantage as a platform for research and education in big data, analytics and data-driven decision-making by Rady School students, alumni, faculty and staff. The Rady School has recently welcomed Urban Insights Associates, Inc. as a founding corporate partner of the Center. In light of this exciting news, we’ve asked Rady School faculty Karsten Hansen and On Amir to reflect on what makes the Center a unique part of the Rady School, UC San Diego and larger San Diego community.
Filling Demand in a New Era of Data
The field of data analytics is growing quickly. Due to the advance of information technology, corporations and organizations are collecting a lot of data and want to explore the potential benefits of using that data for smarter decision-making. Amir and Hansen saw these market developments as an opportunity for the Rady School to address new problems arising from advanced analytics and contribute best practices for tools and data-driven decision-making.
Before the Center for Business Analytics, the Rady School worked with many local companies (some repeatedly) on a project-by-project, ad hoc basis. Amir and Hansen experienced a huge influx of companies asking for help utilizing the data they now realize they have in an efficient and useful way. “Many companies want to use data to look for opportunities – either growth in areas they are not yet in or to improve in areas they are currently in,” notes Amir. With more demand from both companies and students that Amir and Hansen could manage in a useful way, there was a need for more formal partnering with companies. Their solution was the Center for Business Analytics.
Building Rewarding Relationships
“The whole idea is to create a relationship with multiple legs. In order for collaboration with the Center to work well, we must deliver the best product to companies while proving the best education for our students and research for our faculty,” notes Hansen. “Companies provide us with interesting problems and data and we can give them student led projects and faculty led research – it is an ongoing relationship where we truly get to know their business and challenges.”
This is exactly what sets the Center apart from third party consulting agencies. “Because we are partnering with a company working with their data, the results are directly implementable and knowing exactly how we got to our conclusion is much more useful,” adds Amir.
This impactful relationship has already begun to extend full circle with some companies hiring Rady School students to continue doing the work they began while part of the Center. The Center also provides an avenue for Rady School alumni to connect back and benefit, as many graduates have worked on past Center projects.
To date, the Center for Business Analytics has worked with businesses in healthcare, high-tech, biotech, gaming, web services, B2B, local startups, global companies across industries, banking and finance, telecom and non-profits.
Fulfilling a Rady School Vision
Beyond the relationships the Center cultivates between companies and the Rady School community, Amir and Hansen recognize the Center as a context in which companies can meet other companies to share experiences and gain knowledge.
Amir and Hansen explain, “One of the things we want to do down the line is to host and run conferences for company managers and researchers. The idea is that managers [who might not have time to enhance their data initiatives] could discover data analytics best practices but also open their eyes to what is possible for their organization. For example, verbal complaints from customers is actually data and you can analyze and use in a systematic way. Our goal is to open up companies’ eyes to different opportunities they aren’t even aware of.”
Amir points out that, on a macro level, collaborating for the benefit of the local business community is one of the reasons a School of Management in San Diego was originally formed and he believes partnerships with super innovative, applied analytics companies like Urban Insights (who want to expand their infrastructure and value) is the next logical step. “This is exactly the kind of win-win where our partner can get the academic expertise and we can give [Rady] students meaningful, real-world projects.”
Lauren Herr is the Social Media Manager for the Rady School. In her free time she can be found snapping landscape pictures and taking advantage of San Diego’s amazing beaches and coffee shops.