INFORMS NEWS: Student analytics scholarship competition

The Analytics Section of INFORMS is sponsoring a competitive scholarship program that will send a college student to the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in San Antonio, Texas, April 7-9.

Supported by SAS, the scholarship program will be based on a competition in which applicants will be asked to produce a document, known as a “Statement of Work” (SOW), for a case study based on a real-life project. Such documents are usually created early in a project, after some exploratory work, but may or may not fully define the problem. The purpose of the competition is to practice the process of structuring and presenting a compelling proposal for analytical work.

The SOW should include:

  • executive summary
  • system environment
  • project description
  • information flow
  • analytical components
  • input data structure
  • output data structure
  • analytical components
  • assumptions

SAS will provide initial documentation for the case study and make available resources that will act as the “customer.” Applicants are encouraged to ask questions and explore the problem definition to be able to put together a viable, professional SOW. The winner will be selected as would occur in a real bidding contest – based on the cohesion, proper use of assumptions, demonstrated technical and presentation skill in the SOW, and practicality of the proposed approach to solve the business problem.

The scholarship will cover:

  • round-trip flight to the conference
  • hotel (3-4 nights, depending on home location)
  • most meals (which are included in conference registration)
  • registration for the conference and for the Professional Colloquium
  • consultation on how the real case study was addressed in practice
  • publicity for the winning submission

The deadline for applications is Feb. 20. The winner will be notified March 13.

In order to be eligible, students must be at least 18 years old and enrolled in a full-time, accredited, degree-granting program in analytics, operations research, management science or a related field.

The following criteria will be considered in choosing the winner:

  • interest in professional career in industry in the practice of analytics
  • motivation to advance understanding analytical practice through conference attendance
  • comprehensiveness, practicality and technical quality of SOW
  • professionalism and organization of written presentation of the SOW
  • saleability of SOW as a project proposal

For more information, including detailed information on how to apply, visit: http://downloads.deusm.com/allanalytics/2013-student-competition-rulesv2.pdf. To see the full case study, visit: http://downloads.deusm.com/allanalytics/Floor-Mix-Optimization-at-Lucky-Duck-Entertainment-case-study.pdf.