The Senior Design Course
1. What is the goal of this capstone course and project?
The objectives are to give students experience in applying the Management Science methods that they have been studying and working as a team to complete a consulting project for an actual client. It is a preview of life after graduation in a common work format that involves clients, teamwork, uncertainty, deadlines, and deliverables.
2. What constitutes an appropriate project topic?
A senior design project involves the application of quantitative analytical methods (that is, has a mathematical or statistical dimension) for optimization, prediction, or decision-making. The topic can be accomplished in three months and is typically not mission-critical to the client.
3. What might not be an appropriate topic?
Topics that do not involve analytics do not qualify, such as straight computer programming, clerical work, building a database, or designing a web site. However, projects often involve data collection or creating a data set to test a model that was programmed by the team to address the client’s problem.
4. What is the timing and duration for a senior project?
Senior projects can begin in January and must be completed by the first week of May.
5. How is the project scope determined?
The faculty advisor works with the client and students to set the proper scope. Overly ambitious projects will need to be reduced in scope by focusing on a smaller population, region, or aspect of the full problem. Simple problems are expanded to merit credit for a capstone course. The size of the team will affect what are reasonable expectations and reasonable goals.
6. What is the cost of having a student team work on my project?
There is no cost to the client for the project, although some clients have chosen to make a tax- deductible donation in appreciation for the work performed.
7. How many students are on a team and how many teams are there?
Teams range in size from two to four, depending on the problem complexity. For SpringTeams 2012, there are 40 seniors organized into10-15 project teams.
8. What kind of students is typically on a team?
These men and women have nearly completed a bachelor's in Management Science, with courses in operations research, probability / statistics, production / operations management, computer science, mathematics, economics, management, entrepreneurship, and engineering manufacturing, logistics, entertainment, finance, and telecommunications. Post-graduation job titles include analyst (many types), systems engineer, and manager. Many go on to complete a masters in Operation Research, Systems Engineering, Information Engineering, or Engineering Management.
9. How many hours does the team work on a project in a typical week?
Although it varies over the project term, teams average at least ten hours per week, but some spend much more time during critical junctures.
10. What is the role of the faculty advisor?
The faculty advisor works with both clients and students to (1) identify appropriate projects, (2) develop a reasonable project scope, (3) identify an appropriate solution approach and resources needed to complete the work, and (4) provide project oversight and technical expertise throughout.
11. Who is the faculty advisor?
In Spring 2012, there were two advisors: Dr. Richard Barr and Dr. Eli Olinick. Both are full-time EMIS faculty that have significant industry experience in the application of analytics.