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        Business Analytics and Information Systems, Students

        Putting data to work: Harbert analytics class capstone project

        December 8, 2022 By Troy Turner

        All News


        Students presenting research at poster session

        The Department of Business Analytics and Information Systems held its capstone course poster competition December 1, 2022.

        Google defines analytics as “a field of computer science that uses math, statistics and machine learning to find meaningful patterns in data.” Specify it as business analytics, and the emphasis moves to “transforming data into insights to improve business decisions.”

        That’s where seven teams from Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business Department of Business Analytics and Information Systems placed their focus during the fall semester in what culminated as the Capstone Project, a semester-ending finale to Assistant Professor Pankush Kalgotra’s business analytics class.

        “This course is for students majoring or minoring in business analytics,” Kalgotra said. “The students are graduating either this semester or next semester, and we want them in this course to apply all of the skills they have learned to this point toward the program.

        “After the end of this project-based course, our students are ready to take on real-world business analytics challenges,” he added.

        The work involved during the semester leads up to what is called the Capstone Project poster contest, which includes outside guests and business partners. It involves in-depth research, statistical modeling, visualizations, predictive modeling and final presentations.

        Not just business

        Nicholas Knautz and Chris Cox were members of a team exploring data and trends dealing with epilepsy.

        “It’s something most of us on the team have a personal connection to,” Cox said. “It’s more than just a class project to us.”

        Knautz echoed that sentiment. “This project really hit home for our team as we have members who personally deal with epilepsy as well as others with family members. After hearing about these experiences, it was a no-brainer,” he said. “The mission was simple: Even if we can help make the lives of people with epilepsy 1% better from our research, we will succeed.”

        The class also provided the students with a valuable dose of real-world business experience, Knautz said.

        “This project forced us to put all of our analytics classes together. It allowed us to start from square one at data collection all the way to interpreting and explaining our research to an audience,” he said. “I think being able to explain our findings to an outside party gave a true simulation of what to expect in our future careers. “

        Their team won first place in the competition, and also won the People’s Choice Award, garnering a total of $2,000 in cash prizes. The other team members were Grace Turney, Alex Hamm, and Matthew Mayers.

        Biz Analytics winning poster team

        The team Model Behavior, which included Nicholas Knautz, Chris Cox, Matthew Mayers, Grace Turney, and Alex Hamm, won the competition. Team members are pictured with course instructor Pankush Kalgotra (left) and department chair Uzma Raja (right).

        Teams and projects

        The seven teams, each consisting of about a half-dozen students, were dressed in business attire and ready with their explanations as they flanked their information-crammed posters while guest judges studied the findings.

        The teams and projects included:

        The One and Only team (third-place winner) did a project titled “I beg your garden?” which studied Bonnie Plants' sales predictions. “Bonnies Plants has shared their two years of sales data from Home Depot and Lowes. In addition, the total foot traffic and demographics information about the location where stores are located is available. The objective is to identify the factors affecting the sales using descriptive and predictive analytics models.”

        Model Behavior team (first-place winner and People’s Choice Award), worked on a project titled “Does epilepsy care who you are? Yes!” which studied healthcare analytics. “Online medical forums such as ‘patientlikeme’ are a great source of data where patients share their medical conditions. Focusing on the condition of epilepsy, students have crawled the ‘patientlikeme’ website and obtained the medical conditions of all epilepsy patients. The objective is to find the health disparities among epilepsy patients by gender and age.”

        GoTech Group team developed a project titled “Are hospitals satisfied with their systems? Better Tech for Better Care.” Working with the American Hospital Association database, “The objective is to find the relationship between the use of technology by hospitals across all the regions in the U.S. and the satisfaction of their employees. Harbert College has access to the unique American Hospital Association datasets for 13 years.”

        We Tried team studied a project titled "Buy More Plants," which tracked sales patterns of Bonnie Plants' customers and looked for significant trends and patterns.

        Run Rulers team completed a project titled “MLB Home Games and Crime Rates: Stealing more than just bases,” whose objective is to examine a relationship between the crime rate and the game days. The students have collected data about the crimes and game schedules from multiple sources.”

        3-Point Shooters team completed the project “3-Point Revolution.” Studying sports analytics, “we had access to NCAA basketball games data. In this unique dataset, the detail of each game is available including the different plays every second in the game. The objective is to understand the trends in the events over years across all teams, (acknowledgements to Dr. David Paradice)” and whether the NCAA might consider once again moving farther back its 3-point line."

        The Dream Team (second-place winner) project was “How did you sleep? Leveraging Data from Sleep to Predict Heart Disease, which included a sleep study. “We got access to the Sleep Heart Health Study. The dataset contains sequential information about sleep stages recorded overnight from more than 2,600 patients with heart-related disorders. The objective is to create classification models to diagnose heart diseases using sleep patterns.”

        Special thanks to the judges—Elizabeth Henslee and Jack Rogers from Bonnie Plants, LLC; Mike Mosquito from RSM US LLP; Ramandeep Kaur from the Alabama Department of Public Health; and Taylor Logan from Auburn Advancement.