Students bring data driven decision-making skills to RTP, Ireland

Submitted by Anna Rzewnicki on Sunday Jul 20, 2014.

Students in the Jenkins MBA program’s biosciences management concentration have been putting their classroom knowledge to work for leading biosciences companies in Research Triangle Park, N.C. In spring 2013 and 2014, they also worked with start-ups at the University College Dublin, Ireland through a new MBA short course.

A total of 18 practica projects were completed as part of their coursework in 2013 and the first half of 2014, said Richard Kouri, professor of practice and director of the Biosciences Management Initiative in Poole College. "Many of the projects involved using data-driven analytics to help companies identify potential partners for research and development," he said.

The students came to their projects with a range of backgrounds, including biosciences, biomanufacturing, supply chain and IT. A majority of the students were in the college’s Jenkins MBA program; others were in NC State’s Master of Biomanufacturing program.

One of the projects completed in the past year focused on developing a general purpose process for big data analytics, which could be used to follow funding streams and the people in them. This builds on other work Poole College has done over the past few years in the application of big data analytics to innovation in biosciences.

Other projects focused on market adjacency, size of markets, how to price products effectively in an FDA-regulated environment, best practices abuse-deterrent for pain medications, market analysis for kidney disease diagnostics among nephrologists, and an economic analysis of fish aquaculture.

A team of eight MBA students in an international MBA short course in spring 2014 worked with master’s students in biotechnology management at University College Dublin, assisting startups with projects in areas including obesity, hypertension, artificial skin, cosmeceuticals, biomanufacturing and electronic medical records.

Key for effective use of big data is identifying the terms to be used in the massive data searches, says Michael Kowolenko, teaching assistant professor in Poole College and CIMS Industrial Fellow. That process was perfected over the past few years by faculty and student teams in the biosciences concentration and Center for Innovation Management Studies, as well as the college’s Jenkins Master of Global Innovation Management program.

This work has led to creation of a new data-driven analytics graduate course, offered for the first time in spring 2013 and taught by Kowolenko. He discusses the topic in this video clip on Executive Program’s website.


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