Collaborating with UMD iSchool

We are collaborating with students at the University of Maryland’s iSchool in College Park. This fall, we outlined a specific business challenge for the students. To address it, they will use their information management skills to develop a Capstone project that provides possible solutions.

 

What is the Capstone Project?

During their final year of study in the iSchool’s undergraduate and graduate programs, students must complete a Capstone project. They choose from a list of real information management assignments provided by clients that have partnered with the University. Clarity is one of the organizations participating in this unique opportunity.

From the iSchool web site: Capstone projects “allow students to work through real information management challenges, providing them an opportunity to showcase their capabilities, synthesize their knowledge, and further develop their ability to communicate as information management professionals.”

 

Our Problem — Data Overwhelm

How do we better manage a wealth of proposal and contract information?

There is so much “data” to consider — detailed technical requirements, fluid management and staffing needs, budgets, prior teaming success, not to mention the complex business ecosystems involved.

 

Goal Digging

As data scientists, we recognize the value of this rich information landscape. We’d like to dive into the data and efficiently use what it has to offer. Our primary aim is to navigate and analyze the possibilities of our contract-based business with more clarity and agility. As a result, we’ll make better-informed business development decisions. This capability becomes more critical as Clarity grows.

 

Process

To solve our challenge, five undergraduate seniors will study specific requirements and research and report on ways to visually capture and analyze the complex and dynamic web of business proposal and contract information. Subsequently, two graduate students will further the project to determine how to develop and/or implement a solution. We are consulting with students in person and via email as they work to investigate, understand, and address our needs.

 

Outcomes

Next spring, students will present their final projects. As a small business, we see this partnership as an opportunity to gain creative outside input. “I’m excited to see what they come up with,” Clarity’s President, TJ Greenier, explained. “They may have different approaches that we haven’t considered.” At the conclusion of the project, we hope to use Capstone findings to improve our business development process. Our collaboration with students on a real-life business issue offers problem-solving practice and provides meaningful experience.

 

That’s Not All…

In addition to the Capstone initiative, our management team is conducting mock job interviews with iSchool students. We ask thoughtful questions and provide feedback on responses, promoting effective job seeking.

 

More on UMD iSchool

The University of Maryland College of Information Studies (iSchool) is located in College Park. It was founded in 1965. From the institution’s web site: From labs to libraries, we are combining principles of information science with cutting edge technology to foster access to information, improve information interfaces, and expand how information is used in government, education, business, social media, and more. The College is ranked in the top ten nationally by US News and World Report. Visit ischool.umd.edu for for more information.