University of Tennessee

Student Spotlight: Charity Hardison

February 12, 2014

Hear what 2nd year Masters student Charity Hardison has to say about her internship experience

One of the reasons our Business Analytics students make great employees is because at their core they are passionate about all things data. Some would call them over analyzers but we don’t see it that way. These students posess a triple threat that is hard to find these days; they are driven, passionate about data and are naturally business savy. Our Business Analytics MS builds on those assets with education that enables them to provide real value to their employers.

One such student that is a pefect example of the above is Charity Hardison, a second year Master’s student.

Your Name: Charity Hardison

Undergrad University: University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Undergrad Degree: Business Analytics

Year graduated undergrad: 2012

Graduate Degree: Business Analytics

Graduating: 2013 Internship Company: Caterpillar

Internship Position: Technical Marketing for the Information Analytics Group

What kind of projects did you work on at your internship?

First few weeks conducted a competitive research on John Deere Analytics. Most of the summer did Social Media Listening reports. Different functional areas of Caterpillar would ask to see how customers felt about their product. By using Sysomos, I analyzed twitter, facebook, blogs, news, and forums to get voice of the customer. This enabled me to give clients insightful information as well the most influential sources for that particular product.

What Business Analytics skills did you use?

Unfortunately none.

Did you learn any new skills, tools, or software at your internship?

Sysomos, SAS training class, Six Sigma DMAIC Green belt

Do you feel your business analytics coursework helped?

It could have. The Information Analytics group uses a lot of analytics. However, all of the data at the time was code red.

Do you feel you were able to provide value added work at your internship?

Very much so. Specifically, I was able to give insight how customers felt about the CT 660 Vocational Truck. They even thought to consider making changes.

What did you take away from your internship?

Besides learning a new software and earning my Green Belt, I go to see how the corporate world operates.

Do you feel the summer internship is a valuable part of your graduate school education?

YES. I didn’t have an internship until Caterpillar. Having an internship gave me a glimpse into the job market. Also, companies do truly prefer students with experience.

About your degree:
What did you find most valuable about UT’s Business Analytics Program?

The quality of the coursework and helpful professors to help us students receive the best understanding of Business Analytics.

Do you feel the courses prepare you to be successful in the workplace?

Absolutely yes. The variety of courses provided really help with job search. There are so many ways to implement analytics.

How did the Capstone class help prepare you for the work place?

Since the Capstone class consisted of a real world problem, I really had to get into business mindset. Also, Capstone class helped my presentation skills as well as my thought process in to solving problems.

Did feel the capstone class provided value to the company you were working with?

Yes. Our capstone project provided a different way of solving a solution than what the company usually does. They were thoroughly impressed and are considering our approach.