MSIS Students Speed to Success with the Indy Racing Experience
May 10, 2013
As graduate students in Kelley’s Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program geared up for their last semester, eyes turned to the capstone project. And for five students, that meant spending 15 exciting weeks working with Indy Racing Experience.
The Indy Racing Experience (IRE) is part of a network of companies that provide a one-of-a-kind experience for race fans and car enthusiasts. In addition to riding in a two-seater driven by an Indy Racing League driver, fans also have the opportunity to drive authentic IndyCar machines which have competed in the Indianapolis 500.
Consultants at Hewlett-Packard, an ongoing partner with the Kelley School’s MSIS capstone projects, brought the IRE project to the attention of Alex Lopes, Clinical Associate Professor of Operations and Decision Technologies and capstone project supervisor.
“Working with Indiana University as a sponsor and mentor in the Capstone Projects representing HP has provided the opportunity to interact with both the Kelley School and also one of our premier relationships in the IRE,” explains Bruce Michaelson, an HP Distinguished Technologist and CTO for US Corporate Accounts. “The IRE represents a strong, entrepreneurial business model where high technology and business practices can intersect. I cannot think of a better combination than IU Kelley School and IRE.”
Students worked in a consulting role with IRE to analyze its main information technology processes and recommend solutions to optimize operations. The team was charged with the entire execution of the project, which included interviewing stakeholders, creating comprehensive process models that highlighted suggested improvements, and recommending software packages to optimize IRE’s operations. All of this culminated in a student presentation to IRE stakeholders at the semester’s end.
Capstone projects give students a chance to connect their classes in the MSIS program directly into business environments.
”It is a great opportunity for students to engage with real clients, dealing with real business issues and decisions. They take that knowledge straight to their jobs,” said Lopes.
The capstone project is a key component of the MSIS degree program. The project is designed to incorporate students in activities with direct relationships to their future careers, like technology evaluations and solution recommendations.
Allyce Mihelich, one of the MSIS students assigned to the project, points to the invaluable hands-on learning experience she received through this experience.
“It has allowed my group the opportunity to combine various classes from our core experience and apply them all in one place,” she said. “From requirements gathering to software selection, this project has tested our client skills as well as our IT understanding.”
Fellow team member Wade French says, “My favorite part of the project has been interfacing with the client. The project has been really useful in learning how to communicate the need for change that the client may not be aware of.”
After the first year participating, the IRE looks forward to hosting more student projects in the future.
“We have spent time on calls and they visited twice for interviews. They made a great observation and that is we have many pockets of information but no formal database,” said IRE co-owner Scott Jasek. “I am very happy with the students and the project has magnified a problem that I did not recognize.”