Consulting Firm Accenture Brings Real-World Experience Inside ClassroomsDec. 10, 2012
by Amy Surplus
Partnering business students with consulting firm, Accenture, to research and provide solutions on real-time, core issues was not always the established norm at Baylor University.
The IT Intervention Competition, led by Dr. Hope Koch, associate professor of Information Systems, is relatively new to Baylor Business. Students from three of Koch's upper level Management Information Systems (MIS) 3305 classes, competed in this semester-long, interactive project competition.
Following the success of the last competition in the fall semester of 2011, Koch was impressed by her students' passion and saw they had the abilities to drive high-quality business proposals.
"Having Accenture work with the students helps them develop better quality projects that they can implement in business," Koch said.
The three winning projects this year were BioPaw, a project to improve the log in and printing process for students accessing Baylor computing resources; Baylor Dining Services, a project to revamp how Baylor displays information about campus dining options and places that accept BearBucks; and ThiefReceipt, a mobile phone app that saves and organizes large receipts on purchases for theft and tax purposes. The BioPaw team consisted of Kyle Mallett, Alex Norell, Christa Sanders and Austin Tabor. Baylor Dining Services members were Matt Hayes, Zane Kuhlman, Justin Pack, Ashley Peterson and Amanda Slosser. ThiefReceipt members were Katelyn Gallagher, Dewy Pak, Lindsay McClanahan, Marcus Veal and Luke Russell.
Katelyn Gallagher, junior Finance major and part of a winning team for the competition, said this competition really made her think outside of the box.
"This course is more than just looking at the textbook," she said. "Working with Accenture pushes us to do our best and really brings out a competitive nature in everyone. In the end, it taught me how to expand my thinking and made me a better student."
The competition acts as a real-life job, allowing students to meet with the Accenture consultants on three different occasions to get feedback on their progress, just as they would in the "real world." First, Accenture introduced the project via video conference, where the students got to meet and interact with Accenture consultants in Houston and Dallas in real-time. Luke Russell, junior Marketing major, thought "this was one of the coolest parts of the class because it really integrated technology into our class." Midway through the semester, students presented preliminary ideas to an Accenture consultant and receive personalized, actionable feedback. Finally, on Nov. 29, students presented their final ideas when Accenture hosted the IT Intervention Competition.
Rory McKenna, senior manager at Accenture, was impressed by all of the groups' final projects.
"I think students in college know a lot more than they realize," he said. "They are thinking about things that older, more experienced people in the business world don't. We want to continue to have a presence at Baylor because it allows us to interact with the students that may potentially work with us. This is much better than going to a career fair and having a short conversation."
Koch is pleased with the the Accenture partnership and appreciates the consultants that worked with the students: Russ Bertwell, Margaret Moul, Rory McKenna and Catherine Zaruba.
2012 IT Intervention Competition