MIS Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

Spring 2019 MIS Fall Advisory Board Meeting in Athens


Introduction – Hugh Watson and Kaylee Ewing

  • Everyone in the room introduced themselves

 The Business Learning Commons – Chris Williamson

  • Chris was brought in as the facility manager a few years ago
  • Phase three is now complete – the BLC is now a six-building community
  • Illustration of how Chris uses systems each day:
    • Building Management System – monitor hot water valves, pressures, energy usage.
    • Floor Plan Software – shows doors and cameras to see which doors are open/unlocked. Built in programming pulls from campus scheduling to unlock before a scheduled meeting starts and lock after it ends.

MIS Department Update – Maric Boudreau

  • We have had a great year – successful hiring, growing student body
  • New faculty/Open positions
    • Assistant Professor: Terence Saldanah
    • Lecturer: Karim Jetha
    • Associate / Full Professor: search in progress
    • Part-time instructor in FinTech: Mr. Bob Trotter
    • A second part-time instructor in FinTech (more technical): search in progress
  • Recognitions
  • Mark Huber received 2 UGA Level awards:
    • 2019 Creative Teacher Award - for creation of Information Security Management Class
    • 2019 Leanne Seawall Faculty Recognition Award – student vote for professor that has made greatest impact on them.
  • Craig Piercy
    • Terry College of Business Outstanding Teacher Award
  • Aaron Schecter
    • 2019 Best Track Paper Award at HICSS
    • Grant from U.S. Army Research Laboratory
  • New Programs
    • MSBA – Master of Science in Business Analytics
  • MADA/KPMG – Master of Accounting and Data Analytics
    • KPMG chose nine Universities across the nation to send students to. They will continue to work for KPMG after completing the program
  • Area of Emphases in Data Analytics and Information Security
  • BBA/MAcc Double Dawg Program
  • MIS/MSBA Double Dawg Program
  • Certificate in FinTech – starts in Fall 2019 and is available to all UGA students
  • Undergraduate Enrollment
    • 671 Students – 175 accepted in Spring 2019
    • Try to keep class size less than 45 students
    • Selectivity remains high

MIS Student Organizations – Kaylee Ewing

  • Society for Management Information Systems (SMIS)
    • Perhaps the oldest MIS student organization in the country
    • Had record attendance of 400 students in one information session this past semester
    • Huber is the club faculty advisor – contact him for additional information at mhuber@uga.edu
  • Women in Technology
    • Open to all genders
    • Focus heavily on workshops – often with companies (e.g., Protiviti, FTI)
  • Society for Cyber Security
    • Upcoming data privacy session
    • Mostly MIS and CS students
  • Society of Business Intelligence
    • Focus on Google Cloud Platform for this semester – plan is to dig deep into one tool each semester
  • Terry Student Consulting
    • Largest class of incoming junior consultants, with a selective acceptance process – 29 members
    • Four current local engagements
    • Looking for companies to come speak at meetings in the Fall
  • MIS Student Advisory Board
    • Coffee Series – gives students the opportunity to meet with faculty and PhD students in a small group setting
    • New Recruiting Pamphlet – gives new MIS students insights into the consulting recruiting process so that they can be prepared for early recruiting

MBT Program Update – Craig Piercy

  • Completely Online Master of Business and Technology Program
    • 100% Online delivery since 2015
    • Part-Time program reaching working adults
    • Skills for the “sweet spot” between the C-suite and the technology teams
  • Major growth in recent years:
    • First program in 2015 had 10 students
    • Most recent class has 40 students
  • Improved Rankings (Online Business Programs – Non-MBA)
    • #17 Overall – up from #21 in 2018
    • #12 among public institutions – up from #15 in 2018
  • Program Updates
    • New Course – MIST7516e: Advanced Topics of Business and Technology
      • Unit 1: Overview of FinTech
      • Unit 2: Blockchain
      • Unit 3: Machine Learning
    • Capstone Project Cycle – Runs from February (2nd Semester) to December (4th Semester). Always looking for new projects.
  • Trending topics in the meeting today could be added to the course in the future. Please let Dr. Craig Piercy know if you have any ideas about topics/skills for MBT students
  • Keep MBT Program in mind for:
    • Student project opportunities
    • MBT Class of 2019 Graduating in May. Let Dr. Piercy know if you need a new team member!
    • Currently recruiting students to begin in August. Please send any promising students Craig’s way!
  • Contact: cpiercy@uga.edu

Panel 1: “What Analytics Skills Should All Terry Graduates Have?”

  • Panel Moderator: Hugh Watson
  • Open Panel
  • Background: Because of the increased importance of analytics, the dean has asked the MIS department to create a new course that will be required for all Terry Students. Students currently learn Excel, calculus, statistics, and whatever they learn in their major classes.

Q: What Analytics Skills Should All Terry Graduates Have?


  • John Marzullo:
    • Gartner defines analytics in four different categories (descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, prescriptive) - not everyone in Terry need to get to the level that they can perform all four types of analyses, but they should understand that analytics has a wide spectrum and know how each type is used.
    • Every student should be data literate and should be able to build trust (by showing how they get to their conclusion) -> They should prepare their work to be able to stand behind it and answer questions that may arise during a presentation.
      • Communication is key: be able to tell the story, which often involves visualization. Let the data tell a story
    • Students need to understand how to clean data and account for missing or skewed data. They should know how to do the analysis and why that type of analysis solves that particular problem
  • Matt McGivern:
    • Are we asking the right questions? Hard to train young consultants to ask the right question and also be able to know what the next question should be
    • What is the problem domain? Students need to think ahead toward that next piece of analysis to get done
    • Put an analytics lifecycle into the program – clients are making key decisions on these analytics, so “decisioning” needs to be defensible
    • As we automate, we will need to defend what we have automated. It is no longer a black box.
      • Teach students how to think about the question, the process to go through, the impact of the analysis and how the findings are going to be used (why it is so important to get it right)
    • Other skills:
      • Sourcing: understanding where the data is coming from, and the validity and veracity of the data.
      • Extraction and ETL skills, light modeling, querying, and presenting are key skills for young data analysts
  • Colin Rice:
    • The software fluency of young professionals is typically pretty high, but they tend to struggle with is the approach/methodology to solving a problem (the why).
    • The course should consist of two parts:
      • 1) what do you hope to get out of the analysis
      • 2) what should the questions be to get to the answer.
  • Paul Shea:
    • Analytics is a multi-disciplinary activity and students should have experience with all aspects of the lifecycle.
      • Need to replicate activities with the students – assign practical exercises so that students can go through the process of determining the right tools for the job. Walk them through that journey.
    • Start small – spend a month doing the foundation, then later in the semester allow students to test new skills and build capabilities throughout the class while working on the same project.
    • Understand the importance of failing fast if a project is not meeting its goals
    • Take advantage of use cases on campus – there is data everywhere.
  • Jay Ferro:
    • Analytics life cycle is an evolution. One of the things that helps graduates is understanding the analytics lifecycle.
    • Need to meet the company where it is in terms of data fluency and knowledge of tools/methodologies.
    • Idea of Proofs of Concept is extremely powerful: teaching young professionals “did you know you can do this?” – doesn’t have to be high cost and it can generate momentum for you and your organization
    • Accuracy of data and timeliness of data are key topics for students to understand
  • Rob Borrego:
    • Talk to other universities to find out key data points: what worked, what failed, employment rate, talk to graduates
    • Send out survey to discover coverage of other universities

Key Points:

  • Know how to approach a particular problem, there is no universal methodology
  • Know the importance of understanding and being able to trust your data
  • Students need to the analytics lifecycle from beginning to end
  • MIS majors must have an overlap of understanding with the heavy technical analytics people, and then be able to communicate/present the conclusions with a full understanding of the data
  • Familiarize students with the four types of analytics

Q: Is a course in analytics the right place to teach students storytelling?


  • Tim Whitmire:
    • Understand your audience and craft your presentation
    • Know the problem statement – what is the problem you are trying to solve
  • Matt McGivern
    • Communication for analytics project is different from that of a regular project
      • Looking for a specific answer to a specific question, the journey from the hypothesis to the conclusion requires data competency
  • Jay Ferro
    • Telling the story and having confidence in your data requires that all of the foundational data elements are agreed upon

Key Takeaway: Continue to build presentation/communication skills

Q: What is a good class structure? What would be most beneficial for students?

  • Approaching an entire set of business problems with a data lens from beginning to end. (from mess to actionable, accurate, timely data)
  • Expose students to dirty data sets so that they can learn to work through from the beginning to the end

Q: Do you think it is important for every graduating Terry Student to be able to understand how a relational database is structured and to write a simple SQL statement

  • Almost all say “yes”

Q: What about building a data model from which simple queries could be run?

  • All say “no”
  • Opposing point to consider – there is an aspect to data modeling that requires students to understand key constraints. It is important to understand the underlying data model when dealing with tools such as Tableau.

Q: Is hands on usage of Tableau, Power BI, Qlik, etc.  necessary?

  • All say “yes”

Q: Be able to write code, such as Python?

  • Nearly all say “no”

Q: What additional hands on skills, if any, should be included?

  • Experience with leading edge products (Salesforce, Tableau, etc.)

Panel 2: “Trends that Will Impact MIS Education”

  • Panel Moderator: Maric Boudreau
  • Panel: Steve Follin (ISG), Marline Santiago-Cook (Brambles), Bob Trotter (Gartner), Mark Bryson (Deloitte)


  • Steve Follin
    • Two components to MIS education
      • How do you do IS?
        • Communication – whatever you do, make sure that students are practicing communication. Especially communicating with non-IT people and people “upstairs”
        • Transformation management process (“Problem solving process”)
          • “Ideation” – figure out what it is you want to do and get everyone on the same page
          • Technical planning (requirements gathering, etc.)
          • Organizational change management – less represented in IS programs. Important for students to understand that there is the people aspect of IT transformation
        • What do you work on?
          • Understanding the Statement of Work – avoiding scope creep.
        • Cloud computing is here – get students familiar with cloud applicatons
        • Agile revolution – students should learn about agile development and be comfortable with its application
  • Bob Trotter
    • There is a whole new wave of digital – any organization that is asset intensive is ripe for disruption.
    • Two aspects to digital:
      • Optimization
        • Digital dexterity – there is no correlation to age. People must have the aptitude and be willing to try things and work in a digital environment
        • Use gamification techniques to test digital dexterity skills
      • Transformation
        • Disrupt or be disrupted
        • Skill: working in matrix environments.
          • e. What would it be like to work in an environment in which you have two bosses?
  • Marline Santiago-Cook
    • How do we manage systems that are now broken into pieces all around the world; Especially when they are managed and governed by different rules?
    • Machine Learning: how can you get to the problem before it happens?
    • Using data to drive insights and the growth - What are the different ways that we can use the data we have? And how can we monetize it?
    • Be well rounded – not just knowledge in data, but also business case, organizational management/change, etc.
  • Mark Bryson
    • Oil and Gas Industry – what is happening today?
      • The demographic, perspective, and understanding of the C-level people is changing quickly. The idea that the “old guys just don’t get it” no longer applies in most situations
      • The future of work is what is going to happen at the convergence of people, process, and technology
        • Workforce is changing
        • Leadership in industry is changing
        • Student and faculty need to match their intensity and knowledge

Additional Notes:

  • Data privacy and protection is a major trend right now. GDPR in Europe and additional regulations being developed in the US mean privacy will be a vital topic for IS education in the years to come.
  • Keep MIS technical, whether or not the students are going to be using it on a daily basis. Key aspect of recruitment of MIS majors
  • Ethics – typically not attached to MIS, but with the advent of new technologies they are essential to understand as a student working with technology
  • Sustainability – how can we construct systems and processes to be sustainable? Make sure that students build awareness of sustainable practices

The Awarding of Scholarships

  • Forty scholarships were available because of the generosity of the following companies and individuals:
  • Aflac
  • Bill Rajczak
  • Brambles
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • Hugh Watson
  • Hugh Watson Endowment
  • Jay Ferro
  • Johnson Lambert
  • KPMG
  • Mark Bryson
  • Mark Mahoney
  • Patrick Gresham
  • Protiviti
  • PwC
  • State Farm
  • Steve Follin
  • Terri Chase
  • Verizon Foundation


Minutes prepared by Ethan Mann and Hugh Watson