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Students Gain Skills, Experience, and Camaraderie During Spring 2022 Analytics Accelerator

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After a period of fully virtual coursework, this semester gave students the chance to develop their network of like-minded peers in-person. Throughout the six weeks of the Accelerator, WCA – in partnership with board members from the student club Wharton Analytics Fellows – facilitated a variety of social events in the brand-new Academic Research Building (ARB) on campus. These networking sessions provided students with the opportunity to meet with other teams and share their experiences thus far. From DiBruno Bros. lunches to interactive quizzes and scavenger hunts throughout the ARB, networking sessions also helped to relieve any tension that weeks of data-crunching can sometimes create.

“I loved the socials on Friday,” says Dai. “It’s so nice to meet the staff and other students working on different projects, especially in-person. That experience is different from having a Zoom call. I liked the dynamics of meeting together and playing games and having lunch.”

For students working on the project with IKEA, whose U.S. digital headquarters is located near the University’s campus, the Accelerator provided even more opportunities for in-person networking. “We were pretty fortunate to get the chance to meet with IKEA [in-person] twice,” says Yunchong Liu, a first-year master’s student and business engagement lead on the IKEA project. “The experience was so great. You can see everyone’s smiling face. Normally you just sit in your room and you present yourself. When you do something in person, it’s more interactive, so it’s pretty easy to ask questions. It’s smooth and efficient.”

Something that all teams were able to enjoy, however, are the full benefits of experiential learning at Wharton.

“This program carries with it the Wharton name, and therefore it’s able to tap into all of these clients that we’ve been so fortunate to work with,” says Ou. “It also gives us the opportunity for us to build our connections with Wharton academics and with the client organization.”

Ashley Clarke, a veteran of the Accelerator, shared similar thoughts. “Every single Analytics Accelerator, I learned a new skill, a new model, a new way of thinking about data. I’m really grateful for this whole experience for not only sparking my interest in data science, but also for helping me learn so many of these techniques.”

“When you think about it, it’s a win-win for everybody,” says Eric Bradlow, the K.P. Chao Professor of Marketing at Wharton, and Vice Dean of Analytics at Wharton. “The students learn. The faculty that supervises them get to teach them the practical use of analytics, and the company or non-profit or organization that we’re working with benefits from our skills.”

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