Forum & Alumni Reunion Agenda

Keynote Speakers:

Sean Willems University of Tennessee, Knoxville Sam Ransbotham, PhD Boston College

October 10 - 14, 2017

Knoxville, Tennessee


Each forum focuses on an emerging question in the realm of business analytics, asking several speakers from different industries to address the problems that keep our members up at night.

Previous topics have included:

  • assessing and improving analytics maturity
  • analytics as a growth strategy
  • corporate governance of data
  • measuring the impact of media promotions
  • optimizing a digital marketing strategy
  • determining the lifetime value of a customer
  • streamlining the value chain
  • revealing opportunities for revenue growth via constraint identification
Tuesday, Oct. 10

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Student Social Event

Meet the Melton Scholars and the board members of our analytics clubs: Business Analytics Society, WOMBAT, Sports Analytics Club, MSBA Club.

Wednesday, Oct. 11

11:00 am - 12:00 pm


12:00 pm - 12:15 pm

12:15 pm - 1:30 pm


Sam Ransbotham, PhD Boston College

Boston College – Associate Professor
Sloan Management Review – Data and Analytics Initiative Guest Editor
Title: The Analytics Talent Dividend
Description: Talent management is critical to realizing analytics benefits. Our survey of business executives, managers and analytics professionals from organizations located around the world captures insights from 2,719 respondents. We find that organizations achieving the greatest benefits from analytics are also much more likely to have a plan for building their talent bench. I’ll discuss these findings about analytics talent in the context of our overall data and analytics research initiative at MIT Sloan Management Review.

1:30 pm - 2:00 pm


2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

Michael Carillon Pilot Flying J Ryan McClurkin Jewelry Television Bob Muenchen University of Tennessee, Knoxville


During the breakout sessions, students will be working on a business analytics case. You will have the opportunity to watch the students solve the problems and even jump in to help them out.


2:00-2:30 Bob Muenchen – An Introduction to KNIME

2:40-3:10 Ryan McClurkin – A Framework for Effectuating Organization Change Using Advanced Analytics 

3:20-3:50 Michael Carillon – Analytical Experimentation at Pilot Flying J

4:15 pm - 5:30 pm

Hackathon Presentations and Judging

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Evening reception and Award Ceremony for Hackathon winners

Thursday, Oct. 12

8:00 am - 9:15 am

Breakfast and State of the Department

Introduction of new faculty and initiatives: Melton Scholars, Center for Customer Analytics and the Department Advisory Board. Updates on corporate partnership projects, degree programs and research output.

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Faculty Presentations

Michel Ballings University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Title: Social Media and Customer Analytics
Description: Recent advances in social media marketing and customer relationship management

10:30 am - 10:45 am


10:45 am - 12:15 pm


Sean Willems University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Haslam Chair of Supply Chain Analytics
Title: Automating intuition – the journey to make inventory optimization a lights-out activity
Description: This talk describes a fifteen-year academic journey that began by putting advanced inventory optimization techniques in the hands of experts and ended with an automated workflow that optimizes inventories in a lights-out fashion for tens of planners. When discussing model adoption, one often hears wise practitioners say “it is not about the math.” This talk builds on that concept to demonstrate it is not about just the math, but instead achieving widespread adoption requires integrating intuition into the math. This talk will identify the ingredients required to automate planning in practice.

12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

Networking Lunch

Each table will have at least one faculty member and three students.

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

IBM Capstone Presentations

Ramesh Alagesan IBM

Our MSBA students work in small teams with a faculty coach on real-life business problems in the last semester of the program. You will get to hear from a current capstone team working with IBM.

Company Lead: Ramesh Alagesan Data Scientist, Cognitive Enterprise, Chief Analytics Office – IBM
Project: Risk Insights
Project Summary: How do supply chain leaders know when to take costly risk mitigating actions to recover from the impact of a natural event (ie. a hurricane or earthquake) and when can they simply take caution, but no action?

2:30 pm - 2:45 pm


2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Speed Networking

Get a chance to briefly meet one on one with a large number of our students.

4:15 pm - 4:30 pm

Closing Remarks

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Closing and Job Fair Reception

Friday, Oct. 13

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Job Fair

For more information contact Christine Vossler

Saturday, Oct. 14

9:00 am - 9:30 am

Alumni reunion Check In

9:30 am - 9:50 am

Alumni Reunion Breakfast & Department Update

Chuck Noon University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Department Head

10:00 am - 10:30 am

Sports is Life with the Volume Turned Up – Lessons Learned That Apply to Business and Life

Joan Cronan Author and Former Director of UT Women’s Athletics

The University of Tennessee Women’s Athletic Director 1983-2012

10:30 am - 11:00 am

Book Signing

Pre-order your book here: The University of Tennessee Press