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Practicum Projects

UC Davis MSBA strategic projects bring company partners together with MSBA student teams and a faculty advisor. In the one-year course, which runs the duration of the program, students solve complex data analytics problems and present recommendations to the client company.


AFW – Operations Analytics

Angel Flight West (AFW) is a non-profit organization that provides medical transportation to passengers in need. The AFW Operations team is working to increase resource utilization and reduce the number of flight cancellations for AFW through predictive modeling. The 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. 


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 on 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.

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.


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. 


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 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.


Leveraging data science and AI-powered software, Engage3 helps retailers and brands enhance their performance through localized competitive intelligence and optimized pricing strategies.
The MSBA team is working closely with two data scientists with the major task of improving their in-house demand forecasting model.


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.

Mondavi Center

The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts is a performance venue situated on the UC Davis campus, hosting 70+ shows each season. The practicum project aims to develop a new pricing strategy for the largest concert hall and revamp the existing membership program to maximize revenue for the organization.


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.


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,, 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.

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.


Angel Flight West (AFW)

Digital Transformation at a California Nonprofit

Angel Flight West is a California-based nonprofit that arranges free, non-emergency air travel for children and adults with serious medical conditions and other compelling needs. In 2016, AFW launched a strategic initiative to double its mission count over seven years. The MSBA team is assisting AFW leadership to operationalize this strategic vision through digital transformation. 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.


Adoption Analytics in Enterprise Software

Continuing the work begun last year, students this year are working with Autodesk’s product managers and data scientists on analytics to support customer success programs. The team is developing data-driven methodologies to help customer success teams effectively engage with customers, enabling scalable approaches to addressing specific customer needs. Based in San Francisco, Autodesk is a global leader in in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software that helps people imagine, design, and create a better world.

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 speciality produce, is managed by the sixth generation of farm owners in California’s Central Valley.


Benchmarking Advanced Retail Analytics

The most powerful P&L lever for the retailer is pricing. MSBA students are collaborating with Engage3 data scientists to analyze and benchmark the economic value of machine learning models for retail pricing. Leveraging big data, predictive analytics and SaaS solutions, Engage3 helps retailers and brands enhance P&L performance through localized competitive intelligence and optimized pricing strategies.

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 – Davis (ITS-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.

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.



Two student teams are working with Autodesk’s data scientists, engineers and business leaders. The first team is examining how Autodesk to better engage with cloud customers throughout their subscription lifecycle. The second team is analyzing the performance of key operational systems to improve performance and end-user experience. Based in San Francisco, Autodesk is a global leader in in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software that helps people imagine, design, and create a better world.

CHARLES SCHWAB corporation

The MSBA practicum team worked closely with the Analytics & Business Insight organization to build an interactive, self-service dashboard that provides a state-of-the-business view of key metrics for Charles Schwab

Read a student perspective and view videos > 


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.

Read a student perspective > 

UC Davis Center for Student Affairs Assessment

As many as one in four college students in California suffer from food insecurity, unable to get proper nutrition, in quantity or quality. The student team assisted the UC Davis Center for Student Affairs Assessment (CSAA) in creating a system to monitor and improve the campus food supply chain.


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.

Nugget Markets

The student team assisted a customer-centric, locally-owned grocery chain evaluate its marketing analytics strategy and deliver insights that maximize promotional impact and strengthen 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.

SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District)

The student team examined the problem of commercial power fraud and recommending analytically-derived solutions with the goal of creating a safer, sustainable and more equitable environment for its entire customer base. Founded in 1946, SMUD is Sacramento’s community-owned, not-for-profit electric service, among the six largest of its kind in the U.S.

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