The growing use of “big data” and analytics is creating opportunities for strategic business change and innovation and also strong demand for skills and experience applying machine learning and related techniques to business problems.
In this seminar, student teams select and deliver a project using analytics, machine learning, large data sets, or other digital innovations to address a business or organizational opportunity or issue.
A-Lab is open by application only (accessible on the course website in May) to students with relevant coursework or experience in analytics, statistics, and information technology. Applications are considered on the basis of relevant learning, experience, and motivation toward data analytic work, with extra weight given to data analytic courses taken and to data analytic project and job experience; attention given to a representation of students with technical and computational experience, managerial experience, experience implementing analytical models, and entrepreneurial work using analytics. Applications for 2016 are now closed.
Class rosters from previous years have been comprised of students from a variety of programs including MBA, EMBA, Sloan Fellows, SDM, LGO, ORC, MSMS, EECS, and Urban Studies. In the Fall of 2016, A-Lab will also welcome the first cohort of students enrolled in the Masters in Business Analytics degree program, for whom A-Lab is a required course.
Each project proposal presents unique and specific challenges and provides access to a full dataset. Projects reflect a diversity of advanced issues and challenges. Teams are matched to projects at Match Day in September and final presentations will occur in December. Mentors are assigned to each team. In the first two years of the course, project sponsors included Amazon, Boston Public Schools, Dell Services, eBay, IBM Watson, MasterCard, Nasdaq, and others. The class size will accommodate as many as 25 projects in the Fall of 2016.