Fisher adds two new clusters to undergraduate program
Critical thinking skills and building relationships through the supply chain are among the topics that will be addressed in Fisher’s two new Industry Clusters: business analytics and manufacturing.
Launched in the autumn of 2010, Fisher’s Industry Clusters program, open to undergraduate students, provides intense exposure to a specific industry through course work and projects led by corporate executives, experts in the fields and Fisher faculty. The autumn semester is devoted to lecture and course work. Students will work on projects during the second semester.
Many of the students participating in the clusters will also take part in visits to corporate partners’ operation sites. The two newest clusters introduced this academic year join consumer packaged goods, energy and sustainability, financial services and health care.
Ralph T. Greco
“Our biggest effort will focus on teaching these undergraduates critical thinking skills,” said Ralph T. Greco, Fisher’s new director of the Business Analytics Initiative, who is leading the cluster.
“There’s a lot of data out there. One important item we need to teach our students is ‘how do you frame and ask the right questions and then based on the question determine what data you will need?’ Data can be of little value, unless you know what you are looking for and then know how to use it.”
Greco, formerly of IBM, one of the cluster partners, said the other corporate partners are Scotts Miracle-Gro, Nationwide, JPMorgan Chase and Teradata. Executives currently scheduled to share insights with students this semester include Anson Asoka, vice president of global analytics and insights for Scotts Miracle-Gro and Dr. Jason Van Hulse, vice president of business modeling for JPMorgan Chase.
Also preparing lectures for the clusters are three of Fisher’s noted faculty who are thought leaders in data and business analytics: Greg Allenby, Helen C. Kurtz Chair in Marketing and professor of statistics and marketing; Waleed Muhanna, professor and chair of the Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems; and Tom Bishop, director of the Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights and an associate professor of statistics.
When executives from the three manufacturing cluster’s partner companies — Alcoa, GE Aviation and Honda — arrived on campus, it was as much as a networking event for the them as well as students, according to Andrea Prud’homme, assistant clinical professor of management sciences at Fisher.
And for the executives from Alcoa and GE Aviation whose companies both have business relationships with Honda, the face-to-face meeting was beneficial to them,” Prud’homme said. “Watching them exchange business cards and talk to each other, it was as if Fisher and our cluster were bringing together important partners.”
One of the areas the manufacturing cluster will focus on is the supply chain. “Students will understand the multiple sides to corporate strategy in manufacturing,” she said.
A highlight of the autumn semester’s executive visits will be an Oct. 2 presentation to students by Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld.