Graduate students in Kennesaw State University’s Analytics and Data Science Institute are using their skills to help Shaw Industries find solutions to improve the customer experience.

Through a partnership between the Dalton-based flooring manufacturer and KSU, graduate students will have access to data about the customer journey as it relates to the sample ordering process.

“This is a unique course because it brings students from multiple analytical programs together to work on interdisciplinary teams,” said Jennifer Lewis Priestley, associate dean of the Graduate College; executive director of the Analytics and Data Science Institute; and professor of Statistics and Data Science. “From MBA students to graduate students in information systems, computer science and statistics, they’re all in the same class, tackling the same problem, much like they would do in a real-world situation.”

The class will spend the fall semester analyzing data from Shaw’s samples division, which provides customers with swatches, boards and other product concepts to inform and guide their buying decisions. KSU students will present insights and make data-based recommendations to Shaw on ways to enhance the customer experience.

Priestley said Shaw, with some 82 KSU alumni in its workforce, is also fostering continued associate recruitment efforts at KSU, especially among the analytics and data science students.

A cross-functional team of Shaw associates is guiding the students and providing business context for the project. It includes Erika Swartz and Teva Seale from manufacturing business insights, and Adam Thomas and Sheri Stroop from the samples organization.

Over the past few years, Priestley’s students have undertaken similar projects for such organizations as SPANX, The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia-Pacific and Cox Communications. In all instances, students have an opportunity to have a real-world project experience and the companies receive new and innovative solutions to their data-centric challenges.

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