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The Kansas University School of Business is getting a big partner in its research on big data.
Last week the school announced a three-year agreement between its Center for Business Analytics Research and Kansas City-based DST Systems, a company that specializes in data storage and analysis for businesses. The school hopes the partnership will lay the foundation for a pipeline of employees to the data company, and a pipeline of jobs for KU students.
Prakash Shenoy, a KU distinguished professor in artificial intelligence and head of the business analytics center, said DST will give $25,000 for each year of the agreement. The first $10,000 spent under the agreement will go to funding a graduate student fellowship, which will sponsor an MBA student to work on a data project for DST.
"They're very keen on hiring our graduates," Shenoy said. "We're going to give (DST) access to our best students."
In addition to student fellowships, DST will also help pay for career fairs, seminars and conferences on data analytics and faculty research, said Julie Murray, assistant director of corporate partnerships with the center. This is the first corporate partnership of its kind created through the center, but Murray said she hopes this partnership will become a model for similar programs run by the business school.
Along with helping to connect companies with students, the partnership also gives the company access to faculty members and their knowledge. Shenoy said faculty can work with DST data sets in return for being able to publish research on their findings, so long as they don't publish confidential information.
"For us it will be something interesting to work on and something challenging enough that we can publish in journals," Shenoy said.
Big data, a catch-all term referring to the growing collection and analysis of information through mobile, Internet, GPS and other technologies, is a booming field in business. Companies are mining data sets to model customer behavior, predict the future, understand complex problems and fine-tune decision making.
With Kansas City-area companies struggling to find employees with big data skills, Shenoy said the center is considering creating a graduate certificate in business analytics through the business school. The suggestion came to the school partly through DST.
"They suggested a sample set of courses. We've taken that into consideration and, given what teaching skills we have, we're going to offer something similar," Shenoy said.