Sunday at Analytics 2012
I arrived in Huntington Beach, CA on Saturday with my fellow Lehigh team members Prof Tamas Terlaky, Prof Gus Gustafson and Rob Rappa ’11, ’12G – we came early because of our selection as finalists to the UPS George D Smith Prize, which recognizes programs that best prepare students to become operations research practitioners. The finalists made presentations to the judges on Sunday afternoon and the winner will be announced at the Edelman gala tonight.
Sunday started on a high note with my realizing I had a view of the Pacific Ocean from my room at the Hyatt Resort & Spa. (It was already dark on Saturday when I checked in, so I only noticed the palm trees in the courtyard from my balcony and couldn’t see beyond that.) Then I met with my teammates and we rehearsed the presentation. Hours flew by until 4pm when we presented. We let our student Rob have the last word: he concluded our presentation with an extensive description of his time in the department, both as undergraduate and now as graduate student.
Rob was particularly proud to go over the senior project he completed for Air Products with two other students (their simulation is amazing!), and his Master’s thesis where he is working under my supervision to identify the attributes of people who have defaulted on their student loans but are most likely to resume repaying if reached out to, based on over 750,000 real data points. He will be joining IBM Global Consulting Services this summer, where he hopes to become part of their advanced analytics group.
Rob is attending the whole conference with us – we thought Analytics 2012 would provide a great venue for him to learn about the practice of operations research. He is so excited about it I wish we could send more of our Master’s students to conferences like this one.