The Challenges of Integrating Industry Sponsored Data Analytics Projects into Graduate Education for Professionals: NC State's Institute for Advanced Analytics Experiences and Lessons Learned

Christopher J. West

Practicum Manager, Institute of Advanced Analytics, North Carolina State University

Bringing data analytics projects from industry into the classroom produces attractive educational outcomes but is not without challenges worthy of thoughtful consideration by curriculum planners. The presentation will overview the Master of Science in in Analytics (MSA) program's practicum at NC State University's Institute for Advanced Analytics, then focus on the key challenges and lessons-learned associated with such efforts including: project solicitation-development-selection, sponsor confidentiality and ownership requirements, data transfer and project security requirements, student team composition/assignment, project management, student coaching and performance management, logistical support, and deliverable development. The intent will be to make the presentation more of a led discussion seeking out the input, experiences, lessons learned and thoughts of other educators and practitioners focused on these issues. The Institute will have graduated its ninth MSA cohort in May of 2016. The practicum is an 8-month, 5-person team project in which students work on real problems involving real data sets proposed and sponsored by industry partners is central to this curriculum. The most recent cohort of 114 students will complete 23 different projects with industry sponsors this April. We have completed close to 100 projects with sponsors from nearly every industry including some of the world's best-known brands.