Carlson School building

Carlson School Honored with Innovation Award

Monday, October 4, 2021

For its three-pronged approach to engaged scholarship that deepens the connection between faculty, students, and the corporate community, the Carlson School earned first place in the MidAmerican Business Deans Association (MABDA) Innovation Awards.

The award, announced today (October 4), honors innovation in the pursuit of excellence in business education and recognizes creative and unique strategies or programs that advance the quality of education and the management of resources in business schools.

Ravi Bapna (second from left) and Sri Zaheer (second from right) accept innovation award from MABDA in Chicago

“We are heavily invested in this work and honored to be recognized for it,” said Dean Sri Zaheer. In a nomination letter, Zaheer further explained that, “this model seeks to provide a long-term, sustainable solution that seamlessly merges our activities to provide more value for all partners.”

The Carlson School has created three “interlocking gears” for this work. One company can benefit from: experiential learning, where students address real problems; executive education that further develops managers; and applied faculty research, bringing top expertise to bear on business problems. 

For example, Carlson Analytics Lab and Analytics for Good Institute provide consulting that spans descriptive, predictive, causal, and prescriptive analytics across 54 companies in 14 industries and all possible business functions. Teams of students in the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program gain invaluable experience through projects addressing problems and often go on to work at partner companies. 

To Ravi Bapna, the Curtis L. Carlson Chair in Business Analytics and Information Systems, the outcomes are easy to find. “We’re seeing close to 100% placement of MSBA students, many in leading companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Capital One. Clients continue to return for projects and many relationships are evolving towards new knowledge creation and research with faculty and PhD students. And there is growth and impact from executive education offerings, while faculty research is accepted by top peer-reviewed journal articles.”

For its work, the Carlson School won first place in the category of pedagogical/curricular innovations. The school was honored at a reception in Chicago.