Student Chapter Spotlight: UTD INFORMS

Chapter introduction

The INFORMS student chapter at the University of Texas at Dallas was established in 2011 under the Supply Chain Management program. The INFORMS chapter has grown over the years and we are now a strong team including 25 officers as a part of the core team, about 290 lifetime members and over 900 members on OrgSync, the university portal for all student organizations.

Our main focus is to provide the students at UT Dallas with all the resources to make them industry ready. We organize guest speaker events, workshops, industry visits, professional development sessions, and business case competitions to help students build a strong overall personality by keeping them connected to the latest industry trends and with the best industry professionals.

This year we organized two Texas-level business case competitions. We wanted to give our students the exposure of interacting and competing against the top business schools in Texas. The Data Analytics Competition was held in April 2017 and was sponsored by UT Dallas, PepsiCo, and Tableau with representation by professionals from PepsiCo, Tableau, JC Penny, AT&T, and Goldman Sachs. A total of 142 teams registered from 7 Universities and all the students worked upon a real time business problem provided by PepsiCo. The prizes offered to the top three teams were $1500, $1200 and $900, respectively.

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The second Texas Level business competition was focused on Operations Research. The competition was held in November 2017 and we partnered with a logistics start up, Ericson+Bergen, to develop a real world transportation and logistics business problem. We had a participation of 80 teams from 7 Texas Universities and industry representation from Ernst & Young, PepsiCo, American Airlines, Atos, Corian, and Ericson+Bergen on our Finale in the capacity of judges and networking professionals. The prize money for the competition for the top three places was $1000, $700 and $500, respectively.

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In addition to our business competitions, we organized various guest speaker events and workshops throughout the year. The students really benefited from the Tableau workshop wherein professionals from Tableau themselves came in to teach the basics of data visualization with Tableau to the students.

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Other events included speakers from fortune 500 companies including J P Morgan, UT Southwestern Medical, IBM, BSNF railways, Ericsson, Goldman Sachs, PepsiCo, PWC, JC Penny and DHL.  Here is a preview of our events:

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UT Dallas and hurricane

The University of Texas at Dallas is a storm ready campus. The Environmental Health and Safety department (EH&S) helps ensure a safe and healthy living, working and learning experience. Staff members monitor and maintain environmental and laboratory safety, offer training and work collaboratively with schools and departments across campus to mitigate hazards.

UTD also built an emergency information system known as E-Plan, in collaboration with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and is a valuable resource to emergency responders assessing the extent of damage to chemical industry plants and other facilities in Gulf Coast states in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It is now a proven system that provides first responders and other emergency preparedness personnel with on-site hazardous chemical information for facilities around the U.S. E-Plan is a web-based system that is very secure, easy to use, extremely responsive, and highly available. The E-Plan home page is located at https://erplan.net.

Milestones in 2017 and moving forward

In this year we have been constantly recognized for our efforts and hard work. In addition to winning the 2016 OWLIE award for the best student organization and being nominated as a finalist for the Golden Comet award at the University of Texas at Dallas, we recently received the INFORMS Student Chapter Annual Award with Summa Cum Laude honor in recognition of outstanding participation and performance, presented at the INFORMS Annual meeting at Houston, TX, 2017.

Our vision is to continue to strive to enrich the academic experience of students at UT Dallas with the latest industrial trends and expertise. We also work towards building and maintaining quality long-term professional relationships with all our partnering companies in order to provide the students with boundless networking opportunities.

We would like to take this opportunity to state that we would be organizing a Texas – Level Data Analytics Competition again in spring 2018 and we look forward to the support from the academic as well as industrial community to help us take the competition to new heights. Any support in the form of sponsorship, networking opportunities or even providing a real world business problem on which the students can work, would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested, you may reach out to us at informs@utdallas.edu, and we would be happy to discuss the proposals in detail.

We stay connected with all the students through OrgSync, our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/informsatUTD/ and our website www.informsutd.org. We also publish a semi-annual newsletter highlighting our achievements and giving the students a sneak-peak into the next semester.