MSBA Program Partners with Be The Match to Reduce Disparities Among Patients
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Be The Match is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to saving lives through cellular therapy. As trusted leaders in advancing treatments for those facing life-threatening blood cancers, diseases, and disorders, Be The Match connects volunteer donors with patients in need to facilitate transplants. One significant area of focus for Be The Match is to reduce disparities among patients—ensuring that all patients get their life-saving treatment regardless of ethnic or racial background.
Be The Match partnered with the Carlson School Master of Business Analytics (MSBA) program to curate a set of key business questions aimed at understanding possible drivers of the racial disparity. Through a 4-week "live case" student competition in one of the core courses in the MSBA program, passionate students worked in small teams to come up with data trends and patterns that would lead to meaningful insights and recommendations.
Managing the most diverse bone marrow registry in the world, Be The Match asked students to analyze both patient and donor data. Their question to the students: "What disparities in patient progression to transplant exist, and what strategies can we use to overcome them?"
When first digging into the data, Ariana Irani, ‘22 MSBA and a member of the winning team, says answers came slowly. As the project progressed, the team narrowed in on the role of health insurance.
“In the United States, healthcare costs can be very expensive without insurance,” Irani says. “And we suspected that ethnic minorities may not have access to the same quality of insurance as others in the population. We had to do a lot of research on our own to solve this problem since this wasn’t data we were able to get from Be The Match.”
“A lot of times organizations rely heavily on internal data,” says Harshal Nahane, ‘22 MSBA, who was also part of the winning team. “My biggest takeaway from this project was that we had to look at the problem holistically, and practice each and every skill we learned throughout the program.”
“We were very impressed with the work from the students,” says Tracy Smith, senior director of data and analytics at Be The Match. “They were able to take a subset of our data and effectively translate that into key insights within such a short period of time”
The course was taught by Assistant Professor Teng Ye, who joined the Carlson School this past academic year. She says these types of projects open students’ eyes to the different ways analytics can be used to solve problems.
“At the Carlson School, we hope to prepare the next generation of business leaders, for whom we expect such social responsibility as a priority,” Ye says. “This experiential learning adds upon all the MSBA curriculum on social responsibility with a direct impact that the students are able to make with what they have learned. I’m very glad to see that our students are highly motivated to contribute to social good. As a professor, it’s a great pleasure to find such motivations and characteristics in our students and I’m deeply honored to contribute to their journey toward socially responsible business practitioners.”
To learn more about Be The Match and join the registry please visit https://my.bethematch.org/.