Pitt BIG Course Presentation
Today’s blog was written by Robert Haley, Director of Marketing in the Communications Systems Division.
Collaboration comes in many forms.
I was reminded of this industry adage recently while attending a presentation by a team of Pitt students this past week at our facilities in Monroeville. The students, part of a University of Pittsburgh Mathematics Department course entitled “BIG Problems,” (http://www.pitt.edu/~jwheeler/BIG%20Problems.html) collectively presented their findings entitled “Using Analytics to Support Sales” to Dr. Coraluppi and other Compunetix personnel during a lunch session on April 27th.
This unique mathematics course is project-based and is managed by Jeffrey Paul Wheeler, PhD and faculty at Department of Mathematics at the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh (http://www.pitt.edu/~jwheeler/). The B.I.G. Problems course, which stands for Business, Industry and Government, is a class designed to allow teams of student to collaborate together to analyze and solve real-world problems introduced by partner companies. No prescribed solutions are provided. The students must meet, investigate, analyze and draw upon their combined collection of skills to craft a viable solution.
Because of an on-going relationship with Compunetix, Dr. Wheeler reached out to Compunetix VP, CSD Division Manager and Pitt alumni, Jerry Pompa, to encouraged Compunetix to submit real-world business problems for his students. One of those submissions, involving the creation of a ROI calculator display tool for Sales, touched upon classic business issues such as system sizing, calculating ROI, visual financial modeling and capital cost analysis, presented the students with a challenging, yet achievable goal with associated deliverables.
I acted as liaison to the student team to answer questions, provide input and serve as a sounding board throughout the project.
The student team was comprised of a collection of diverse students across a range of disciplines:
- Nathan Burwell, Senior, Nuclear Engineering
- Grace Carey, Senior, Computer Science/Philosophy/Mathematics
- Robert Hardy, Senior, Computer Engineering
- Wade Spooner, Senior, Mathematics/Computer Science
- Meghan Sunners, Senior, Mathematics
- Everado Tellez De La Vega, Economics, International Exchange Program (Mexico)
- Ben Turner, Senior, Electrical Engineer
The cohesive team gathered in our training room on Thursday to present their finds and to demonstrate the tool that they designed and developed. The team members took turns explaining their process throughout the semester, the challenges that they encountered and overcame and what they learned throughout the course.
What became evident to all in attendance, however, was how much of a collaborative effort this project turned out to be. Each of the student leveraged their own areas of interest and expertise such as mathematics for the calculations, finance for the business logic, computer engineering to code the tool, and the other disciplines for providing the team leadership, direction and putting together the packaging, user guide and slides.