MBAn Capstone Project: A Unique Journey

 

The Capstone Project is inevitably the most exciting part of MBAn program. The reason why it is associated with so much anticipation is that the student team (2 people team) will be paired with a well-known company during the Spring and then join the company for a full-time internship during the summer.

In this blog, I will elucidate the process of my capstone project before the summer from my own point of view. Particularly, I will talk about the matching process, the on- boarding process, the integration with the company and summer outlook.

 

Matching Process: Fruitful Pitch Day

During the fall semester, our MBAn students have already received participating company list and project details. This list included renowned companies from various industries such as BCG Gamma for consulting, MFS for finance, Rue La La for retail, etc. Also, some projects are outside of the US. For instance, GroupM’s project is in Copenhagen, where you can enjoy a foreign vibe and perfect weather while doing analytics.

The pitch day is at the end of January. On that day, company representatives come to MIT Sloan: they do presentations in the morning and hold interviews for MBAn student teams in the afternoon. The process took two days and it concluded with a net-working dinner event. Before the pitch day, my teammate Tiantian and I have already targeted three companies that interest us the most: MFS Investment Management, BCG Gamma and IBM Watson. Since we both want to apply analytics knowledge to finance industry, out top choice is MFS Investment Management. The 2-day interview process went on well and we successfully got the project from MFS Investment Management. One thing to note is that most of the MBAn teams get their first or second choices for the capstone project, which is a pretty good result.

 

On-Boarding:

Once the matching is done, Tiantian and I have been warmly welcomed by MFS team. During the Spring semester, the main objectives were to determine the scope and initial modeling though. But it was more than that. The most impressive step during the semester for me is that I got a real chance to touch genuine business and grasp the cultural environment in the office that I am not familiar with previously. Since MFS office is at the Prudential Center, Tiantian and I went to the office basically every Monday morning. MFS has a fantastic work atmosphere in the office and Tiantian and I were provided with MFS laptops and individual working area.

Instead of doing an analytics project, I felt genuinely integrated in the company and respected by them.

Another thing to note that on the first day being at MFS, the director did a small orientation for Tiantian and I: she let us meet different teams and people at MFS so that we were never restricted to doing project in one area and we can open our eyes by understanding what other teams at MFS are doing and how the business is fused together. Also, we got the chance to meet with very high-level seniors in the company such as the president Carol Geremia so it indeed surprised me how close MFS colleagues are and how approachable they are.

 

Integration with the company:

Once we have on-boarded, the real project began. Every Monday morning, we a participated in MFS meeting with 3 or 4 other people in the team discussing the project. At the beginning I was not accustomed to it because the business meeting is so much different from a meeting in academic situation: firstly, the business impact and objective is above other considerations in most cases; secondly, different people always have different ideas and it is a long process to reach a conclusion that all the people agreed upon. Although struggling at the beginning, I regarded the business meeting as essential to my future career and genuinely appreciate that MFS or the capstone project has provided me a chance to practice and get familiar with it before a full-time job. Also, for the capstone project, every team is equipped with a MIT ORC Professor and PhD as advisors so that we still have a chance to be exposed to and apply the cutting-edge analytics tool.

 Summer Outlook:

Our formal full-time internship will begin on June 10th. In about 10 weeks it is expected that Tiantian and I will complete the project and hold a final presentation on August 23th in front of all our classmates and professors. I am extremely excited on doing this project and more than excited to create genuine business value using analytics. Though amid with a bit anxiety, I believe that the summer experience will equip me with courage and power that is unobtainable through other ways.

 

 

Pace Han

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