Business Information Systems Seniors Work on Projects for Impressive Companies

Each team creates a contract, charter, project scope, stakeholder analysis and requirements analysis, and then delivers a high-level implementation plan to leading execs.

October 20,  2017

By Elaine Cole

[Excerpt from Neeley Magazine] –  Each year, senior BIS majors delve into complicated projects for companies, to test their education and prove their skills with real stakes on the line.

Bennie Peek, CIO of Bell Helicopter, has worked with numerous BIS students over the years, and he has seen that they are all intent on doing their very best.

“At the project’s kickoff meeting, the students listen intently to every word we say. They are trying to size up what it’s like to work in a business, trying to get to know us and where we are coming from and what’s important to us,” he said.

For each project, each team has a simulated budget of $50,000, or $200 an hour for their consulting skills. How well they stay within that virtual budget can impact their final grade.

“I estimate that each student will spend a minimum of eight hours per week on average for the semester,” said Jane Mackay, associate professor of ebusiness and director of the ebusiness program.

“It’s up to them to assign resources to the tasks and make the final budget match this estimate.”

Colin McNearney BBA ’17 worked on a project for BNSF Railway. He and his teammates met with BNSF executives weekly to gather information and go over ongoing developments and expectations.

“We worked together to critically think, analyze and develop optimal solutions for BNSF to become more efficient, promote change and save money,” McNearney said.

Companies such as Bell Helicopter, BNSF Railway, Remington and Greyhound come to the TCU students for answers to complex issues. Most teams sign non-disclosure agreements due to the importance of the projects.

McNearney said his project for BNSF taught him to “get comfortable and confident in working with ambiguity and complexity in a work environment.”

“The single thing they get more than anything else is how corporate America works,” Bell Helicopter’s Peek said.

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