Siyu Chen

From classroom to corporate: MS-ISOM student elevates City Furniture’s supply chain with data driven insights

Siyu Chen, a student pursuing her master’s in business analytics at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, completed a practicum project with City Furniture, a well-known furniture company based in Florida. She employed her knowledge in marketing analytics and business intelligence to effectively integrate her programming expertise with business insights under this partnership. 

Chen came about this opportunity through her analytics practicum course, where Dr. Jim Hoover, the course instructor, coordinated with ten companies. This provided students the ability to apply their skills in a real-world context. 

“I chose to work with City Furniture because of my prior experience with [global food supply company] Mars’ supply chain department, which aligned well with this project’s focus on supply chain management,” Chen explained. 

Chen’s project demanded extensive investigation and evaluation, skills that she has now mastered. She was tasked to create and implement well-crafted strategies for the company. 

“Our project aimed to understand seasonal trends and purchasing frequencies to help improve supply chain demand forecasting for purchase order optimization,” Chen asserted. “But we didn’t stop there, we decided to develop a foundational predictive model designed to accurately forecast City Furniture’s future SKU demand on a ten-week basis, facilitating timely supply chain decisions.”

Students in the practicum course are given collaborative partnerships in the company, facing many real-world challenges with the skills they have honed from their academic curriculum and practicum project. 

“I served as the project leader and data scientist,” Chen said. “My responsibilities included coding the models and algorithms, assigning tasks based on team members’ strengths and ensuring the successful completion of our objectives.”

Siyu Chen In this experience, students are immersed in an environment drastically different from university, giving them a unique perspective on succeeding within a real-world company. 

“Unlike classroom settings where I followed the professor’s lead, the project required a results-oriented approach which improved my data interpretation and self-learning abilities,” Chen said. 

This experience was not only academically rewarding, but it fostered a much greater understanding of the industry she is planning on pursuing. She gained insights that will be beneficiary to her for the rest of her career. 

“I now have a much better understanding of the seasonal trends in the furniture industry, the impact of proportional activities and weather changes on sales, and how supply chain departments adjust cycles based on data analysis,” explained Chen. 

Chen’s practicum project opened a new window into the realities of practical work experience, helping not only the company, but also accelerating her future success. Through such extensive real-world application, this opportunity provided her with the means to prosper in a competitive professional industry.