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Practicum Projects

Practicum Projects

UC Davis Master of Science in Business Analytics practicum projects create a powerful learning experience by bringing company partners together with MSBA student teams and globally ranked faculty advisors to solve real-world projects. During the one-year course, you will work as part of a team to solve complex data analytics problems and then present your recommendations to the client company.

Search our database of practicum projects below:

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Air Safety Institute – NASA

Air Safety Institute (ASI) is devoted to improving the safety of pilots in the field of general aviation (GA) through industry-leading research. The fatal accidents affect everyone in the field deeply and the situation is calling for more analysis of the untapped accident report, the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) database.

Therefore, it is collaborating with MSBA students to analyze and determine causal factors for problematic phenomena in general aviation using Natural Language Processing. Leveraging descriptive, diagnostic, and predictive analysis, the student team helps ASI lower the KPI of this practicum which is the number of fatal accidents, by formulating operational and policy recommendations arising from the preceding analysis.

Angel Flight West - Operations Analytics

Angel Flight West (AFW) is a non-profit volunteer-centric organization that provides medical transportation to passengers in more than 12 states in the western U.S.

In 2016, AFW launched a strategic initiative to double its mission count over seven years. Over the past several years, the MSBA team has assisted AFW leadership in operationalizing this strategic vision through digital transformation and predictive analytics. The team is re-envisioning the capabilities of AFW’s data platform to optimize the impact of three key growth factors — pilots, patients and providers.

The MSBA team’s project scope includes applying data manipulation techniques and machine learning methods to develop, analyze and implement models for the organization’s operation system. The objectives included increasing resource utilization and reducing the number of flight cancellations for AFW through predictive modeling.

Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum (AAM) is home to one of the world’s finest collection of Asian art with an expansive permanent collection and dynamic special exhibitions and public programs. AAM is currently undergoing a $90 million expansion project set to complete in 2020. The MSBA team is supporting AAM during this expansion by developing a statistical model to help predict attendance for special exhibitions, allowing the museum to better meet yearly earned revenue goals while maximizing public engagement with the museum’s art and cultural programs.

Autodesk

Based in San Francisco, Autodesk is a global leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software that helps people imagine, design, and create a better world.

Multiple MSBA student teams have worked with Autodesk’s data scientists, engineers, and business leaders. The first team examined how Autodesk can better engage with cloud customers throughout their subscription lifecycle. The second team analyzed the performance of key operational systems to improve performance and end-user experience. The third team worked with Autodesk’s product managers and data scientists on analytics to support customer success programs.  

BARCO Healthcare

BARCO Healthcare, is a multinational company headquartered in Kortrijk, Belgium. The student team is helping to analyze the data and workflow aspects of Multidisciplinary Tumor Board Meetings. Objectives include developing business analytics dashboards, measuring ROI and defining and capturing meeting efficiency KPIs. 

BlueMatrix

BlueMatrix is a leading platform for the authoring, distribution, and analysis of the consumption of financial research. It connects the world’s leading asset and wealth managers with nearly 1,000 research firms in more than 50 countries, in addition to serving internal teams across multinational corporations. Under the direction of the office of the CIO, MSBA students are analyzing fine-grain usage data from BlueMatrix's terabyte-scale SAAS platform. The goal is to analyze potential opportunities to create value for BlueMatrix's staff and customers and create robust predictive and search systems for financial-sector professionals using AI and advanced analytics.

Bowles Farming Company

Optimizing Agricultural Output at a California Farm

The project goal is to provide Bowles management with actionable intelligence on crop rotation to strategically optimize yields and revenues. As a companion to optimized crop rotation, the students are tasked with creating a risk management practice to robustly predict and minimize negative impacts of factors such as water allocations, market prices, and weather. The 11,000-acre Bowles Farm, where the company grows cotton, tomatoes, field crops, and specialty produce, is managed by the sixth generation of farm owners in California’s Central Valley.

CBRE/McKesson

Students tapped Internet-of-Things technology to explore real-time occupancy data with the goal of understanding how the workforce interacts with their office environment and how to influence productivity by improving space utilization. CBRE is the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm serving owners, investors and occupiers. Headquartered in San Francisco, McKesson Corporation—5th on the FORTUNE 500—is a global leader in healthcare supply chain management solutions, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care and healthcare information technology.

Clean Robotics

Clean Robotics is a clean-tech start-up developing AI-powered trash-bots for automated waste management. The student team's efforts have focused on the core analytics driving the trash can's operation and supporting end-customer usage. Specifically, the team is delivering models for real-time image classification as well as end-customer trash-bot management tools by creating a new, constantly updated, data platform.

COPA Data Initiative

The COPA Data Initiative team is responsible for optimizing the current search engine for the COPA online forum by developing a content scoring system. The focus is on improving the user experience by providing weighted search results with the help of Natural Language Processing. This would involve developing KPIs to determine the improvement of the search functionality after the implementation of the model. On the administrative side, the COPA team aims to provide a dashboard to monitor site performance through custom metrics.

Dunnhumby

The student team worked with augmenting industry pricing and analytics experts tasked with improving profitability at a large California grocery chain by leveraging point-of-service and pricing data that capture how internal and external price signals impact customer behavior. Dunnhumby uses the power of customer (big) data and insights to create customer-first and personalized in-store, digital and mobile customer experiences.

EdCast

Known as the “Spotify of learning”, EdCast helps organizations to aggregate internal and external content (e.g., from learning and human resource management systems as well as Coursera, Pluralsight, Harvard Business Review, etc.) to optimize the professional experience journey for each employee, a journey that typically spans learning, skilling, and career mobility. EdCast recently identified a significant enhancement to the analytic capabilities of its learning platform.

Engage3

Leveraging data science and AI-powered software, Engage3 helps retailers and brands enhance their performance through localized competitive intelligence and optimized pricing strategies.

The most powerful P&L lever for the retailer is pricing. MSBA students collaborated with Engage3 data scientists to analyze and benchmark the economic value of machine learning models for retail pricing.  

A second project focused on improving Engage3’s in-house demand forecasting model.

Hilti Corporation

Managing Profitability Leakage in Enterprise Sales

Students are working with the Hilti finance team to determine a fair market pricing model based on customer segmentation and revenue potential. The goal is to form fundamental guidelines around pricing based on statistical analysis of Hilti’s current sales data combined with an understanding of business processes. Hilti is a global leader in providing technology-leading products, software and services to the worldwide construction industry through quality, innovation and direct customer relationships.

Institute for Transportation Studies – UC Davis

Innovative Business Models for California’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

The plug-in electric vehicle market is growing quickly in California, with 1.2-1.5 million vehicles expected on our roads by 2025 and 5 million by 2030. Public charging is critical for drivers who need more range, don’t have home charging, have slow chargers, or travel longer distances. The students are analyzing charging event data in collaboration with ITS-Davis researchers to design sustainable business models and capacity expansion strategies for charging station providers. ITS-Davis is the leading university center in the world on sustainable transportation, hosting the National Center on Sustainable Transportation since 2013 and managing major research initiatives on energy, environmental, and social issues.

Kasa Living

Kasa is a global hospitality startup with a mission to enable low-cost, high-experience accommodations. Its data technology combines with Kasa's innovative operations to enable a globally scalable offering that delivers high-quality stays. The student team has been tasked with designing workflows that enable the operations team to enhance the guest experience, utilizing predictive analytics. The team's goals include creating new price optimization opportunities as well as models to ensure a positive guest experience based on pre-and during-stay signals.

We were quite impressed by the students’ curiosity and passion to learn about our business by asking the right questions and familiarizing themselves with some of our key metrics to successfully translate a business problem into a data-driven solution.

-Mike Marando, Sr. Director of Business Operations, Kasa Living

Kiva

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 in San Francisco, with a mission to help the more than 1.7 billion unbanked around the world who cannot access much-needed financial services. MSBA students are developing analytical insights and models to enable Kiva to grow the value and use of its programs. Specifically, they are employing data science to understand how to increase uptake and stickiness, which product and marketing features provide greatest value to users, and how to position different lending products to maximize impact.

Koret

UC Davis’s Koret Shelter Medicine Program aims to help shelters increase the number of animals they are able to process without wasting resources and while providing these animals with the best possible outcome for their situation. Working closely with the UC Davis Graduate School of Management professor Dr. David Woodruff, this practicum team is augmenting the mathematical optimization model through analytics tools. Using both data from existing animal shelters and simulating realistic data, we aim to build a robust unsupervised classification model through Machine Learning. In the meantime, the team is implementing the optimization model into a website hosted on AWS. With functions such as displaying personalized visualizations of analysis based on input data and giving suggestions using the optimization model, this website helps shelters manage their capacity.

Lucky Brand

Omni-channel Merchandising at Fashion Retailer

Optimizing the product assortment at nearly 250 retail locations and integrating the in-store customer experience with its rapidly expanding e-commerce channel is key to Lucky Brand’s profit strategy. This multi-dimensional project gives students exposure to the company’s different organizational processes including demand management, facility planning, and merchandising. Founded in 1990 in Los Angeles, Lucky is an iconic American lifestyle brand specializing in denim.

Mondavi Center

The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts is a performance venue situated on the UC Davis campus, hosting 70+ shows each season.

Several MSBA projects supported the development of a new pricing strategy for the largest concert hall and revamped the existing membership program to maximize revenue for the organization.

The most recent project focus is on identifying and analyzing the planning and operational responses to the pandemic. Building on the pricing and revenue management successes of previous practicums, this year's MSBA team is integrating data from Mondavi's CRM, electronic marketing, web analytics and guest surveys to reengineer programming and operational systems.

Nugget Markets

The student team assisted a customer-centric, locally-owned grocery chain evaluate its marketing analytics strategy and delivering insights that maximize promotional impact and strengthen the customer relationship. Based in Woodland, Calif., Nugget Markets is a privately owned, $300+ mil. revenue grocery chain ranked 12 consecutive years among Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For.

Packsize

Packsize is among a very few companies worldwide creating “right-sized packaging” – shipping packages that are optimally sized to the dimensions of their contents - through its hardware and software solutions. Its products have an enormous environmental impact, reducing the use of corrugated fiberboard as well as fill materials like polystyrene, as well as shipping costs and damage. MSBA students are applying analytics to design next-generation automation solutions that combine image acquisition from state-of-the-art stereoscopic cameras with Packsize's existing packaging and fulfillment solutions for a fast-expanding e-commerce sector.

PeopleFun

The PeopleFun Practicum team will use exploratory data analysis, clustering, and other advanced data science practices to better understand the gamers, enhance revenue, and increase gamer retention this premier game studio. PeopleFun created Wordscapes and Word Stacks, which are the #1 and #2 word games on the Google and Apple stores.

The analysis draws insights from 20 TB of game player data for 570,000+ users. Founded in 2011 by the former leadership of Ensemble Studios, PeopleFun prides itself on its highly talented development team, creativity, rapid prototyping, teamwork and fun. Over 25 million monthly active users play PeopleFun’s games.

Pittsburgh Knights

The Pittsburgh Knights are a pro esports team and gaming lifestyle startup based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that develops innovative products to inspire competition and create community in partnership with the Pittsburgh Steelers football team and the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball ownership group, Wiz Khalifa and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ hockey star Evgeni Malkin. MSBA students are working with the company's president, director of technology and coaches to build a player analytics platform to optimize coaching and scouting.

Public Storage

Established in 1972, Public Storage is the world’s leading self-storage company. A part of the Fortune 500 (NYSE: PSA), Public Storage owns and operates 2500+ facilities across 38 states; we employ thousands of associates across the United States. Public Storage believes that analyzing and improving digital customer engagement is a critical differentiator that we can use to create even more customer value. To that end, the goal of the MSBA project is to develop a full-stack analytics implementation focused on eCommerce analytics.

REEF

Part of SoftBank’s worldwide portfolio of companies revolutionizing business and commerce with cutting-edge technology, REEF transforms underutilized urban spaces into neighborhood hubs that connect people to locally curated goods, services, and experiences. REEF is the largest operator of mobility, logistics hubs, and neighborhood kitchens in the United States, Canada, and has a growing presence in Europe. Partnering with the MSBA program allows REEF to pair its rich data infrastructure with cutting-edge decision technologies and enthusiastic young talent from UC Davis to boost its workforce management systems and outcomes.

Reviewbox

Reviewbox is an early stage technology startup focused on delivering e-commerce data and analytics to consumer brands. Their software continually aggregates data across Amazon, Walmart.com, and several other major e-commerce sites. Currently, Reviewbox utilizes their dashboard for descriptive analytics. They have partnered with the UC Davis MSBA Program to try to drive more meaningful insights through three sub-projects that involve predictive and prescriptive analytics. The sub-projects involve exploring relationships between reviews and search and sales rank, understanding the buy box dynamics and Amazon Ads optimization.

Reviewbox's mission is to continuously help brands and manufacturers bridge the knowledge gap between data accessibility and the development of actionable insights derived from the information collected across eCommerce marketplaces. Their software continually aggregates data across Amazon, Walmart.com, and several other major e-commerce sites. Since its 2019-20 practicum sponsorship, Reviewbox has merged with the customer intelligence firm Talkwalker. The MSBA student team is applying machine learning and advanced statistics to build market share and sales estimators - data unavailable to customers of major ecommerce platforms.

Sumo Logic

The MSBA team is applying Machine Learning and advanced Data Science to drive customer retention, churn and expansion decisions at this cloud-based enterprise log management and analytics-as-a-service vendor. The analysis combines usage data from Sumo’s petabyle-scale platform and its CRM to identify strategies for customer retention and opportunities for market expansion. Sumo Logic is a SaaS company that helps customers monitor, troubleshoot and secure business-critical applications via a secure, cloud-native, continuous intelligence platform.

UC Davis Health

Ambulatory Access to Care

The region's only academic health center, UC Davis Health is focused on discovering and sharing knowledge and providing the highest quality of care. As providers compete for patients based on both convenience and quality, improving patient access by decreasing wait times is becoming increasingly important for UC Davis Health. The Access to Care project leverages analytics and multiple data sources to provide UCD Health patients with the right care in the right setting at the right time. That requires the student team to assess and propose improvements to existing models to better manage current and projected provider capacity by specialty. The end-goal is to use enhanced model recommendations to inform operational decisions and identify operational tactics to improve access.

Patient Experience

The region's only academic health center, UC Davis Health is focused on discovering and sharing knowledge and providing the highest quality of care. As healthcare has become increasingly consumer-driven, it has become imperative for hospitals and health systems to have a deep understanding of the people they serve (i.e., the patients). Patients provide service feedback through a variety of mechanisms, including multiple-choice surveys and with transcribed free text. The MSBA team is developing a robust and scalable system to provide UC Davis Health leadership with actionable feedback-based insight using statistical and machine learning modeling.

Pharmacy Inventory

The region's only academic health center, UC Davis Health is focused on discovering and sharing knowledge and providing the highest quality of care. The inventory of the pharmacy department of the UC Davis Health system costs over $200 million every year. The student team has been tasked with reducing costs by optimizing inventory levels. The initiative has required the team to analyze historical trends, develop insightful visualizations, and forecast spending. A key deliverable has been a real-time forecasting dashboard that allows pharmacists to track inventory status and highlight significant reorder points.

Homelessness and Healthcare

The region's only academic health center, UC Davis Health (UCDH) is focused on discovering and sharing knowledge and providing the highest quality of care. As the only Level 1 trauma center in inland Northern California, the Emergency Department sees hundreds of patients each day. Many emergency department visitors are patients experiencing homelessness (PEH), with chronic diseases burdens combined with high barriers to accessing routine primary care service. The MSBA student team is extending UCDH's current ability to compute, visualize and predict key care measures to better identify service utilization trends and gaps in resources for PEH. The goal is to create a predictive analytics solution that will help evaluate the impact of new interventions to avoid unnecessary utilization and improve patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes for this population.

Veritec Solutions

Veritec is an innovation-led pricing and revenue management solution consulting firm specializing in non-traditional and emerging application domains. One such area has been self-storage. Veritec's solutions optimize both pricing for new customers as well as rent increases for existing customers of self-storage facilities. Veritec offers state-of-the art dynamic pricing methods that allow self-storage operators to offer multiple prices for inventory for which only a single price traditionally applied, often with automated day-to-day adjustments. 

The student team is exploring extensions to Veritec's pricing methodology for new customers that incorporate supply and demand signals, specifically evaluating the impacts of competitor pricing actions relative to a target company.