Gaining Real World Experience
The Master's project is an important component of the MS/MIS program and is required of each MIS Master's students. Students work with MIS faculty to deepen his/her understanding of some aspect of MIS. The requirements for the project are flexible enough to encourage a wide range of topics and approaches. Since the project is a substantial undertaking, it requires careful analysis and planning. Students should plan on spending 10-15hr/week over the course of two semesters on the project.
Projects should be much broader in scope than a one-semester class project and should try to blend concepts from more than one class. The MS project report should be something that you can be proud of and that you can take to your interviews to show prospective employers.
The exact format of the report will be determined by your faculty advisor/instructor. You should include your name and your advisor's name on the cover sheet as well as the semester of submission. You will also need a one paragraph abstract at the beginning of your report. When your project is complete you will give a hard copy of your report to your advisor and upload the report into the MIS Masters Project Repository (MPR).
Students will have the option of doing a team-based project (MIS688) or an individual project with an individual faculty member (MIS696H). Both options will involve real world clients and faculty supervision and interaction.
The team-based projects (MIS 688) will:
- Simulate an environment where the student team has all the responsibilities of an internal IS support manager or an outside consultant. Projects can focus on IT Strategy, Security, Data Management, BI, Knowledge Management or any other IT need of a client.
- Have a contracted relationship. During the first 2 weeks of the semester students have to write a contract that is signed by both the client and the student team. The contract contains the background of the company, description of the problem, scope of the project, deliverables and timelines, and expectations from both the client and the team. This will enable students to learn how to scope projects by participating in refining the scope with the client and instructor
- Improve student communication skills. The student team has to learn how to efficiently communicate with their client. They will prepare regular written status reports and a final written report. They will also give a final presentation where the client is in attendance.
Individual based projects (MIS 696H) will encompass the above points plus:
Require that the student secures a cohesive working relationship with an MIS faculty member. It is very important to select an MIS faculty member with whom you would like to work and who would be willing to mentor you in the process. It is also important to choose someone who has enough time to guide you and have regular meetings with you to give you feedback. If you have a topic in mind, discuss it with the faculty member to see how it could be implemented. If you do not have a topic in mind, ask the faculty member if they can offer you a choice of topics. Many faculty members have ongoing research projects (sometimes funded) in which students can participate. It is possible to have a co-advisor from another department, but one co-advisor must be from the MIS department.
Examples of projects are
- Technology selection and evaluation
- Feasibility studies and proof of concept for new products and services
- Data analytics projects related to demand estimation, diagnostic systems, market
- Competitive intelligence capture and analysis using advanced web crawlers and analytics
- Work flow analysis and design, process improvement
- Business intelligence/OLAP analysis and design
- Web-band portals and dashboards
To prepare yourself for MIS 696H - we suggest that by the end of your second semester you will have identified your topic, defined the scope of your project, and found a faculty project advisor.