Analyze This

Countless storms and a pandemic have shown how supply chain disruptions can quickly wreak havoc on the availability of everything from groceries to auto parts.

So when BMW representatives met with the interim dean and faculty at the Johnson College of Business and Economics last year to explore potential partnerships, they saw an opportunity to gain insights on that logistics issue with help from the graduate program in business analytics.

Throughout the spring 2023 semester, students worked in teams to examine the impact of weather on BMW’s global supply chain. Each team created dashboards in Tableau that they shared with the company in a final presentation. BMW was pleased with the results, and decided to use them to create a prototype through the Center for Business Analytics and Community Research (CBACR) at the business school.

That outcome highlights how partnerships between businesses and the university can be mutually beneficial, says Uma Gupta, director of business analytics at JCBE. Students get real-world experience, while organizations get access not only to student talent, but also, through the center, faculty experts in data analysis and research. “Our philosophy at CBACR is based on reciprocity, where individuals and organizations are participants, not just clients, in our work,” says Sam Cooper, director of the CBACR.