Essential skills, CAP & team competition

Continuing education: Essential practice skills for analytics projects

Patrick S. Noonan

Patrick S. Noonan

Patrick S. Noonan, a professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School whose experience with the management consulting profession spans 30 years, will teach an intensive, hands-on, two-day course on “Essential practice skills for high-impact analytics projects” on Sept. 28-29 in Arlington, Va. The course, part of INFORMS’ Continuing Education program, is aimed at analytics professionals looking to sharpen and expand their analytical skills and “soft skills” that are so essential for solving real-world problem.

By the end of the course, students will learn practical frameworks and systematic processes for addressing complex, real-world problems and how to facilitate effective action. They will also understand best-practice techniques, including problem statement summaries, issue trees, interview guides, work plans, sensitivity analysis, stress-testing recommendations, the “Pyramid Principle” of story logic, story-boarding, slide-craft, delivering presentations and fielding Q&A. They will learn to link their subject-matter expertise to the challenges of messy, unstructured problems, organizational noise and non-technical decision-makers.

Day one of the course focuses on such topics as defining the problem, structuring the problem, planning the work and working the plan. Day two shifts to developing insights and recommendations, making the case, and creating value through action.

In June in Denver, Noonan led a class of analytics professionals representing companies such as Microsoft, Nestle, Google and UPS, in addition to participants from higher education, nonprofit and energy sectors. Reflecting on his experience, Rob Miller, long-range demand forecaster at Microsoft, said, “The class was excellent. I’ve been exposed to a few management consulting/strategy-consulting techniques prior to the training, but it was never integrated in the same, effective way. Also, the experiential learning was really effective.”

Noonan co-founded Planning Technologies Group, whose innovative work in strategic planning and information technology earned a place in the “100 Leading Management Consulting Firms” compiled by Consultants News. Noonan’s consulting and executive education clients have included Microsoft, Bertelsmann, NewsCorp, The New York Daily News, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merrill Lynch, the Centers for Disease Control, Sea-Land, Accenture, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Economics Institute, Johns Hopkins University and Greenpeace.

A member of INFORMS for almost 25 years, Noonan has presented on research and pedagogy more than two dozen times at INFORMS conferences, and he has played leadership and major service roles in the Decision Analysis Society, INFORM-ED, SPRIG, the Teaching Effectiveness Colloquium and INFORMS Transactions on Education.

Noonan will next teach the essential practice skills course on Sept. 28-29 at the Executive Conference Center, Suite 200, 2345 Crystal Drive, Arlington, Va., 22202. For more information and to register, visit the INFORMS website ( or contact Continuing Education Program Manager Bill Griffin (

How to renew your CAP certification

To anyone who earned Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) status in 2013, it’s time to renew. CAP is a credential that includes a requirement to continue involvement in the analytics profession and to demonstrate compliance every three years. Certificate holders need to earn 30 professional development hours (PDUs) over the three years of certification in order to renew.

The PDUs may be earned in several different categories including: formal professional education courses, self-directed learning, creating new analytics knowledge or content, volunteer service and analytics professional work experience. In general, one hour of activity equals one PDU. For details, see the CAP Candidate Handbook.
To renew, simply log in, input your PDUs and update your CAP certification by visiting the INFORMS website ( For more information, contact  

Competition for tomorrow’s leaders in O.R. & analytics

A new INFORMS Student Team Competition provides real-world workplace experience for undergraduate and master’s level students. Student teams will be given the same business problem, data sets and access to software to solve a challenging problem using an O.R./analytics approach. A panel of industry and academic experts will judge written submissions based on a team’s use of the full analytics process, from framing the problem to methodology selection, data use, model building and innovation. Demonstrated “soft skills” in teamwork, communication and presentation will also be considered in the judging.

Prizes include $7,500 for first place, $5,000 for second, $3,500 for third, $1,500 for fourth and $1,000 for fifth. Finalist teams will also receive a stipend to offset the cost of travel and conference registration.

Syngenta Corp., a leading seed biotech company, will serve as host sponsor for the 2017 competition and provide the problem and data. A preliminary written problem statement will be published in early August, with the final problem, data sets and software access available Sept. 12. Interested teams must register their intent to compete by Sept. 30. Written entries are due Jan. 23, 2017, with finalists announced on Feb. 20. Finalists will present their work on April 3, 2017 at the INFORMS conference in Las Vegas. Winners will be announced at the conference. For information: