Tara Bode graduated from the Warrington College of Business

How Warrington students solved a communications company’s problem with AI and analytics

Prior to enrolling in the business analytics program at the University of Florida, I was foreign to the keywords of the program: coding, modeling, and data analytics. However, I knew that I had an eagerness to learn more about such technology through one of my undergraduate courses, ISM3004: Computing in the Business Environment. Professor Olson’s passion for the subject matter and the portrayal of the course is one of the main reasons I knew I wanted to pursue business analytics. Despite being a novice, Professor Jim Hoover’s Business Analytics Bootcamp helped me to gain the necessary skills for the business specialty, as well as for the practicum that lie ahead.

For my particular group’s practicum project, I worked alongside four other team members to develop a propensity model to determine the customer segmentation of AT&T’s Cybersecurity clients. My role in the project is being the Subject Matter Expert (SME), which essentially means that I am the team’s point of contact regarding the business understanding of ‘all things’ cybersecurity. My job is to incorporate pertinent information about the sector into our data preparation and modeling efforts. Furthermore, my role is to ensure that our practicum team is aligning our data and modeling goals with that of our sponsor’s projected outcome.

In regard to our modeling, as the AT&T practicum team was the only team who got to work in the UF HiperGator environment, we had to adjust to a slight learning curve with R Studio. Yet, it was quite interesting to take a deeper look into the domain of UF’s IT department and their construction of a research supercomputer. I always find it fascinating to see behind the scenes of technology and how we can play a small interaction in the grand scheme of it all.

Are you interested in students working on a project for your company? Contact Jim Hoover or Kandace Frasier for more details.

Jim Hoover’s enthusiasm and dedication to his students throughout the four-part module series was a vital contributor of our team’s success in our modeling efforts and in our final presentation to the data analysts and marketing heads at AT&T Cybersecurity. One of the interesting aspects of the practicum course is how other classes seemed to tie well into the curriculum. For example, in our marketing course, we learned about multi-dimensional scaling analysis and how to develop them in R Studio both through metric and non-metric means. The technique harbored a unique value that was then adapted and given to AT&T in our final presentation. I was able to illustrate their competitive position in the marketplace by examining their competitors and comparing their specific offerings against each of those companies. By having the clustered visual and different dimensions that the analysis was based on, AT&T’s marketing team is better able to adjust its target appeal to customers. They can choose either to maintain its competitive advantage in their present cybersecurity space or pivot to become more prevalent in a different cluster of cybersecurity offerings.

After exploring the different data methods and modeling techniques offered throughout the Business Analytics track, I would say that I feel much more confident for my entrance into the field of data scientists. Given the use of real-life data through AT&T’s anonymized customer data, we were able to apply the skill sets learned in previous classes and our analytics bootcamp to engaging and applicable scenarios that are similar to those crafted in the workplace. Therefore, it was a very eye-opening experience that will forever be cherished, as it’s one thing to have a knowledge of the code and modeling techniques, but another to put it into application and truly understand the background reasons for why we handle data certain ways and how to present data in a manner that is most meaningful to sponsors and department heads. Overall, the Business Analytics Practicum has been an advantageous stepping stone into the workforce and I’ve treasured this time by not only learning the mechanics of data analytics but also valuing the true essence of teamwork and how it can reap great success.