Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Student Learns While Wrestling With Big Data and Rulon Gardner

By Mike Tolman

What’s the big deal about big data? Many companies feel like I did when Rulon Gardner put me in a headlock at Allegiance’s Voice of the Customer Fusion Conference in May. Going head to head with terabytes of information can be just as daunting as standing on the other side of the mat from this Olympian! Organizations are scrambling to find “diamonds in the data mine,” but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find analysts who can not only manage databases and develop code, but who can also ask the right questions to find insights that will have a significant impact the margins of an enterprise.

As a graduate student at the Huntsman School of Business, I’ve been able to learn how to do just that. With a background in English literature, I came to the Master of Management Information Systems and Master of Business Administration programs at the Huntsman School after working in retail and sales management for several years. After joining these programs, I immersed himself in MIS and became heavily involved in the various student groups at the school, including the Association for Information Systems (or AIS) and the Business Intelligence Group.
Mike Tolman, left, met Rulon Gardner at a conference
and found himself in an uncomfortable pose
with the former Olympic wrestler.

After only a few short months, I was able to rise to the position of lead student researcher for the Business Intelligence Group, and have since lead the team as a project manager in a variety of business intelligence, data mining, database management, and web development projects in partnerships with local business and Huntsman School alumni. My work in database management and business intelligence helped to open the doors for a unique internship opportunity with the customer experience team at Oracle.

As a result, I have been able to go through millions upon millions of rows of data and have performed complex analyses to enable Oracle to better understand the “voice of the customer,” or VoC. The ability to store and analyze unstructured and structured massive amounts of data has led to a growing trend of companies being able to finally understand a customer’s behavior. While surveys provide a good snapshot of a customer’s impression or values, big data allows companies to track buying patterns and how they correlate with each other. This leads to insights that might seem contradictory, but are supported by hard evidence. Listening to the customer’s voice has a big impact on sales and profitability and data analysts, like me and other MIS graduates, are high in demand.

This internship and experience allowed me to attend a conference in Las Vegas, where I was able to meet with industry professionals and see a direct correlation between what is going on in companies today and what I am learning at the Huntsman School. I really feel like the world is in my hands. By having dual master’s degrees in business administration and in management information systems, I feel like I have placed myself in a unique position to provide a lot of value to my future employers. I feel like my education at the Huntsman School has not only been enlightening, but also that the knowledge and skills I have gained and developed have been an investment that will pay huge dividends for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Extra Steps for a Few Months Will Lead to Major Payoffs For Generations to Come

By Ken Snyder

Many of us can get quite grumpy about having to park too far away from our destination, even if we’re going to the gym to work out. Many places even reward high performing employees and high ranking executives with special reserved parking spots close to the building. People seem to really care about parking privileges. 
Walking a few extra feet for a few months is worth it.

While we can’t see Huntsman Hall yet, we can see its construction footprint. In fact, those who park in the brown and teal lots across 400 North, which include most of the Huntsman School’s faculty and staff, must navigate around that construction every day. Yes, it’s making for a longer walk each day. I’m pleased to report, in this case however, I’m not hearing the complaints you might think could come from a change that increases the commute time by a couple of minutes each day. I’d like to think that it’s because as we walk to the doors on the north side of the George S. Eccles Business Building we get to envision what this new facility will be like. Who wouldn’t want to make a small sacrifice for a few months as they watch something that will benefit students for generations to come?

For those of you who aren’t experiencing this commute extension first-hand, we’ve created a little illustration to give us all a higher perspective. The dotted line is the path people took when Huntsman Hall was only a hope. The solid line is the path people are taking now. 

It looks like we are now all taking the path less traveled because we know that it in just a few months it will make all the difference.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Huntsman Hall Excavation to Start on June 24

By Ken Snyder

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that “What goes up, must come down.” That’s not the case with Huntsman Hall. We’ll need to go down before it goes up. 

Crews will start digging on Monday, June 24, as they prepare to put in the foundation for Huntsman Hall. This is when it all becomes quite real. You can watch this unfold over the next couple of years by watching our three webcams that are already focused on the spot where it will happen. It’s hard to imagine that this new facility, which just a few years ago was nothing more than a great idea looking for support, is finally going to start rising from the ground.

Let the digging begin.