ASU statistics students get real-world experience with local golf company


January 7, 2015

The game of golf lends itself to all sorts of statistics – driving distance, percentage of tee shots finding the fairway and much more. Statistics is also a topic of importance to PING, the Phoenix-based company that has built an international reputation as a manufacturer of top-quality golf clubs and related equipment. The company uses statistical analysis to ensure that its products meet its exacting quality standards.

Four Arizona State University students had the opportunity to work with PING employees during the Fall 2014 semester on a project utilizing and developing their talents in statistics, as well as other skills that will help them succeed in the workforce. Through the project they also provided valuable analysis to PING regarding the issue of grip alignment on its golf clubs. ASU statistics students Download Full Image

The students – Tom Dameron, Ryan Grossman, Gwen Lindvig and Robby Reiter – undertook the project as part of their senior statistics capstone class in the bachelor of science degree program in statistics, offered by ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. New College is the core college on ASU’s West campus.

At the end of the semester-long project, during which they regularly visited PING’s headquarters in north Phoenix and worked directly with the company’s employees, the students presented their results to PING staff, who were impressed by their talents and work ethic.

“This team of bright ASU statisticians collaborated well with our PING teams and supported our continuous improvement culture,” said Loran Cox, PING’s director of quality.

“Through excellent teamwork, the students thoroughly analyzed statistical data and identified ways to make one of our key processes even better,” Cox said. “Concepts developed by PING were further validated and advanced by the work and recommendations of this ASU team. We very much appreciate their time and efforts on this project.”

For the students, it was an opportunity to synthesize what they have learned throughout their coursework in New College’s statistics program, the only bachelor’s degree in Arizona focusing specifically on statistics.

“The project gave us valuable experience in how to apply statistics in real life,” Dameron said. “We learned about the manufacturing process and what types of quality tests to run to achieve the best results. For several weeks, we were at PING headquarters multiple times a week running experiments.”

“We also had to translate our findings into easy-to-understand language for people who aren’t statisticians,” added Lindvig, who admits to knowing nothing about golf clubs before she started the project. “And we developed our skills in public speaking and creating presentations for the meeting with PING at the end of the semester.”

Employees of PING were extremely welcoming and helpful as the students worked throughout the semester, according to Reiter. “They made us feel like we were members of the team at PING,” he said.

That’s exactly the type of collaborative arrangement New College is looking for from organizations that provide projects for statistics students, said Connie Borror, the statistics professor who teaches the senior statistics capstone class. Borror works with industry, government and nonprofit entities to provide teams of students with challenging experiences for their capstone projects.

“PING clearly was invested in the project,” Borror said. “The company gave our students a meaningful project that was important to PING, and they provided a reliable point of contact in the form of a quality engineer with whom the students could meet each week.”

Borror said she was proud of the growth she saw in the students, individually and as a team, during the process.

“At first they were coming to me regularly for direction, but as the semester progressed they became more independent and approached me less frequently for guidance and consultation,” she said. “By the time they made their final presentation, it was clear that they were extremely confident and could handle any question that was thrown at them. This combination of independence, confidence and ability to work with a team is what we want to see from our fourth-year students, and the capstone class plays a major role in helping students achieve this goal.”

Students in New College’s bachelor of science degree program in statistics receive training in the latest statistical techniques using professional statistical software. They study the related areas of mathematics and computing, as well as a focus area chosen by the student. Graduates are well-prepared for employment or graduate studies.

“Our work with PING showed that undergrads are capable of getting the job done,” Reiter said. “The capstone project is the culmination of what we have learned in our classes throughout the statistics program. We now have industry experience in approaching a product quality question by knowing what to look for, how to look for it and how to display the results.”

W. P. Carey School ranks among top 5 in nation for online graduate business programs


January 7, 2015

Online education keeps growing in popularity, thanks to its flexibility and convenience. New rankings from U.S. News & World Report show, if you want to get an online MBA or other graduate-level business degree from a highly ranked school, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University would be an ideal choice.

For the third year in a row, the publication ranks the school in the top five nationwide for online graduate business programs. W. P. Carey School of Business Download Full Image

“The W. P. Carey School of Business offers the same renowned faculty members and degrees in its online programs as it does in its highly ranked on-campus programs,” says Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “This school was one of the first highly respected business schools to launch online degrees more than a decade ago, and we use in-house course designers specializing solely in business classes to provide the best possible experience for students.”

U.S. News & World Report already ranks the W. P. Carey School’s undergraduate business, full-time MBA and evening MBA programs among the top 30 in the nation in their respective categories. The new rankings cover the W. P. Carey School’s popular online MBA program and online Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program.

The online MBA program ranks No. 4 nationwide in its category, and the school’s online MSIM program ranks No. 3 on a separate list of “online graduate business programs.” Both new rankings are based on student engagement, admissions selectivity, peer reputation, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology.

“Students serving in the military, starting their own businesses and traveling extensively for their jobs are among those who have chosen our online graduate business programs,” says Stacey Whitecotton, senior associate dean for W. P. Carey School graduate programs. “Participants have a dedicated financial aid specialist and a career center for those who want help with job searches.”

The 21-month online MBA program allows students to meet at a face-to-face orientation just once at the ASU campus, then complete the rest of the courses online. Students work in small, personalized teams with peers from other industries, typically focusing on one course at a time. This is one of relatively few online MBA programs in which students can earn their degrees with an area of emphasis, such as finance, international business, marketing or supply chain management.

The 16-month online Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program is designed to provide professionals in any career area with a well-rounded education in information technology (IT) and to explain how they can apply that knowledge to their companies overall. American Express, Intel Corporation, Mayo Clinic and US Airways are among the companies that send students to the school’s MSIM programs.

The W. P. Carey School also offers six online undergraduate business programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks ASU No. 8 for online bachelor’s degrees.

In addition, the business school has a weekend/online hybrid MBA program and a 16-month online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MS-BA) program, which focuses on the booming field of “big data.” All of the school’s online graduate programs include small class sizes and easy-to-use online-learning technologies. For more information, visit wpcarey.asu.edu.