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Fall 2016 IM Program Events

MIS Lunch and Learn

Our lunch and learn is an event that we hold every semester. Students attend the event to hear from company representatives in a round robin style set up while enjoying free pizza. This is an informal event where we encourage students to ask questions that they might not normally feel comfortable asking a recruiter. This semester we held it on September 2nd and had a crowd of over 100 students. We were happy to welcome representatives from Dell, PwC, Sense Corp, Phillips66, KPMG, and Southwest Airlines!

fall 2016 lunch and learn group shot

Advisory Council Meeting

The Advisory Council Meeting, held this year on September 16th, is an annual meeting where top leadership from various companies join IM faculty to discuss the current state and future of the IM Program.  This year we had representation from 18 companies at the event! Sirkka Jarvenpaa, professor and IM Program Director, hosted the event. Katie Gray, MIS alum and senior lecturer, updated attendees on the MIS curriculum. Dr. Wen Wen, IM professor, gave the keynote lecture. We also had sessions that focused on various initiatives at McCombs including healthcare, analytics, and the potential for a new Masters in Information Management.

fall 2016 advisory council meeting

This meeting also provided a great opportunity for several of our students to showcase their work from the semester. John Gemkow and Stephen Smith from MIS 374 (Business Systems Development) and Angel Lo and Gabriella Lio from MIS 375 (Strategic Information Technology Management) presented their course projects to advisory council members. See below for brief descriptions of each of the projects.

Thank you to all those who attended! This meeting is not only a great way for our corporate partners to stay up to date on the program but also for faculty to get feedback and ideas to implement into their courses!

MIS 375: Nike and the Sneaker Resale Market

The objective of this project is to provide Nike with a pricing recommendation on limited-release shoes with high value in the sneaker resale market. We wanted to determine if there was a correlation between Twitter buzz surrounding a shoe and its resale price. Our model allows Nike to predict a successful shoe drop and leverage the data to improve profit margins on subsequent releases of the same shoe.

Using the Twitter API, we aggregated tweets to gauge consumer interest surrounding highly-anticipated shoe releases from Nike. By running a multiple linear regression using the gathered tweets and resale prices, we were able to confirm the correlation between Twitter buzz and the average resale price on eBay. We then performed a sensitivity analysis and recommended that Nike increase its selling price on subsequent releases highly-valued shoes, as indicated by Twitter buzz, by 10%. 

MIS 374: ColterDurham and the Logistical Needs Map

The objective of the Logistical Needs Map (LNM) was to create an online portal and data management solution that would allow visitors to enter search parameters and locate a disaster shelter on a mapping interface for the client, ColterDurham. This in turn would allow people to be better prepared for disaster emergencies and find shelters if an emergency did strike. In addition to the search module, Five Guys Consulting built out a data management module to allow counties to allow the client to ‘crowdsource’ data from county officials across the pilot state of Texas. Using Google Maps APIs, the team was able to build mapping and data management interfaces with standardization and future scalability. The site is also mobile first and fully responsive. ColterDurham is currently working to collect data for the system using the structure implemented by the MIS 374 team. In the future, they hope to see it supplement web traffic in support of their core products. To see the deployed system, visit

Using an iterative project management approach, Five Guys Consulting (FGC) was able to build and deploy the system per client needs and requirements. Throughout the process, FGC utilized various methodologies, tools, and frameworks taught in MIS 374 to deliver value and mitigate risk for all stakeholders. The project overall was seen as a success for its delivery within all project constraints of time, budget, and resources.

Five Guys Consulting consisted of current Management Information Systems majors John Gemkow and Josh Frankl, along with recent BBA graduates Stephen Smith (BBA ’16), Grayson Gayle (BBA ’16), and Karthik Reddy (BBA ’16).

MIS Info Session

This year's Info Session was on October 12th and over 75 students gathered in McCombs to eat pizza and hear from faculty and alumni about our program. Clint Tuttle, lecturer, hosted the meeting and informed students about the course curriculum and corporate involvement. The MIS student organization, MISA, gave a presentation. Alumni, Brent Lovett and Becca Robertson, shared with students how the program influenced their careers and encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities the program provides. We're very thankful for the students and guests who attended our info session! Each year the number of students increases as the interest in MIS increases as well. We look forward to the Spring 2017 info session!

IT Company Field Trip

Our third annual IT Company Field Trip took place this year on September 23rd. This year we stayed close to home in Austin. We had a jam-packed day planned with visits to Sense Corp, Amazon, and 3M on the schedule. We met bright and early at Littlefield Fountain and with a bus full of over 25 eager MIS students and faculty, we headed off to our first stop!

We kicked off the day visiting Sense Corp. Students enjoyed a breakfast consisting of Torchy’s Tacos and pastries with Sense Corp consultants, a number of whom were UT MIS alums! After breakfast students were split into groups and taken around the office where they visited with consultants and learned more about working at Sense Corp. We finished with a panel where the consultants fielded questions from the students. A huge thanks to Karen Smith, Advisory Council and Steering Committee member, who packed so much of the Sense Corp experience into a two hour visit!

Sense Corp Pic Breakfast     Sense Corp Panel Pic

Next stop was the new Amazon office at the Domain in North Austin. MIS alum, Steering Committee member, and Advisory Council member Elliot Oshman organized a panel of Amazon employees from a variety of groups including: Amazon Education, Amazon Web Services, Fulfillment Technology, etc. Students heard from each of the panelists about their role at Amazon and the path (education, work experience, etc.) they took to get there. The best part about this panel discussion wasn’t just that students got to learn about Amazon but the panelists provided real world advice. For example, several students expressed concern about about life after graduation and whether graduate school was the right way to go. They heard from different panelists, some who attended grad school and some who did not. The feedback we heard back was that this casual environment to ask questions was highly valuable. Thanks Elliot for organizing this amazing visit and all you do for the program!

Group Pic at Amazon

Our last stop for the day was 3M. MIS alum and Steering Committee member, Tina Beamer, planned this visit and co-hosted along with Steve Dufour. The visit started off with a tour of 3M’s Innovation Center. It was amazing to see the number of 3M products that we use on a daily basis! Next our hosts gave a presentation about life at 3M and their amazing internship in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They had a number of fun 3M giveaways for the students who asked and answered questions. Lastly, we were given a tour of the enormous 3M campus. Thank so much to Tina and Steve who made this last stop a memorable one!

3M Group Picture     3M Innovation Center Picture

We’d like to thank the companies we visited for being amazing hosts. We truly have great alumni and sponsors who care about the development of our students and we couldn’t be more thankful. We’re looking forward to our next trip in Fall 2017!