Delaware First: deciphering the data


Photos courtesy of Predictive Analytics Group ǀ Illustration by Heidi McDonough

Online transactions, mobile apps, sensors, social media and more – data is everywhere. Whether you work in healthcare, finance, or even professional sports, analyzing the numbers can yield key results that benefit both organizations and consumers. But first, you have to know how to decipher the data.

Enter Predictive Analytics Group (PAG), a company formed by three University of Delaware alumni that is poised to capitalize on the boom in business analytics – an industry that, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics – United, will experience growth of up to 35% between 2019 and 2029.

The company, which employs 25 people in offices on the UD Science, Technology and Advanced Research campus – 40% of whom are Blue Hens – recently extended its support to the major and the University of Business Analysis of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics through Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware by creating an endowed scholarship.

“Being able to collaborate with our alma mater and then share what we’ve been through as students and throughout our careers has been and will continue to be very rewarding for all of us at Predictive Analytics Group,” said said CEO Stephen Hoops, a 1998 graduate of Lerner College. “We are proud to be the first company to fund a scholarship like this for the Major in Business Analysis and to support the next generation of top business analysts. The University is already doing a tremendous job in this area, as we have seen with the people we have hired and brought in as interns and entrepreneurs.

Hoops, alongside co-founders and former classmates Dee Ridgway and David LaRoche, also Lerner graduates of the class of 1998, brought their own experience in leading roles at large financial institutions to their consulting firm in full-service management – and emerging data analysts. The launch of the scholarship was personally significant for the executives of the company, especially Hoops, who initially attended college on an athletics scholarship. When an injury abruptly changed his plans, he found himself changing specializations and working full time at MBNA America in order to graduate.

“Working full time while I was in school made me who I am today, but it’s not something I would wish for students today,” Hoops said. “I prefer that the students had the ability to focus on their school experience and that it was not a secondary aspect of their life, which was for me. “

For some time now, the PAG has made it a priority to support the UD and its students through philanthropy and the sharing of their expertise. The company regularly hires recent UD graduates, mentors current students through the Horn Entrepreneurship program, and offers internships and part-time positions to undergraduate students.

“Working as a part-time employee for PAG under the direction of Dave LaRoche has been a great learning and development experience,” said Carson Furci, a senior specialist in entrepreneurship. “I joined PAG last spring and started working on projects with Dave. From day one he has worked hard to be the best mentor and teacher for me that he can be. I have used Excel, Salesforce, Tableau, LinkedIn and learned basic SQL coding, and have been included in redesigning and improving the PAG website and other social media platforms we use. I think the experience is invaluable and will help me in any role I pursue after graduation.

As the industry expands and seeks out new talent, such hands-on experiences can help emerging professionals and recent graduates differentiate themselves from recruiters and employers. Mentoring and experiential learning ensure that graduates can find jobs in a number of industries, producing reports and forecasts so companies can anticipate trends, meet customer needs and better manage their business. products and services.

“It can be very difficult for organizations to onboard and train new hires at the same time, but we can help students early in their careers,” said LaRoche. “So they graduate with a skill base that benefits them and makes them attractive to future employers, whether it’s working with us or with someone else. ”

As the use of data analytics grows, many leaders are challenged to consolidate data from multiple existing systems, develop advanced analytics experience in-house, and control access to reports. specific throughout the company. In many cases, they need advanced analytical support but cannot afford it full time or do not know where to find and train them.

The partnership with PAG creates an opportunity not only to encourage students, but also to create a talent pool for the industry.

“Today’s advanced technologies are creating new opportunities for businesses to improve their performance through data analytics,” said Lerner Dean Bruce Weber. students in this rapidly growing discipline. I am grateful for PAG’s generous philanthropy and mentorship and know that together we can provide business education opportunities for talented students.

For Ridgeway, who is the Managing Partner of Operations in the United States and works closely with UD student interns at the Predictive Analytics Group, interacting with current Blue Hens is a chance to tap into new talents. Students can stay with the company for several years, so Ridgeway and his colleagues also have the opportunity to watch students flourish, as they progress from undergraduate to young professional.

“Our interns are local, but they have their own backgrounds and experiences, so we have different ideas than UD in the late 90s and early 2000s,” he said.

Investing in Blue Hens colleagues and seeing how eager the next generation of graduates is to master the field of business analysis continues to inspire the three co-founders of UD.

“The students and recent graduates who work with us are eager to learn,” added Hoops. “They want to understand your experiences and there is nothing more rewarding than being able to relay those experiences and offer them useful advice that will help them shape their own careers.”

About the campaign

Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware was publicly launched on November 10, 2017. The Comprehensive Engagement and Fundraising Campaign unites Blue Hens across the country to accelerate UD’s mission to train tomorrow’s leaders, create solutions to big challenges, ‘inspire innovations and transform lives. The united effort will help create an extraordinary student experience at UD and expand its impact across the region and the world.

Building on the record support and generosity highlighted by the campaign, on October 7, 2021, the University announced the extension of Delaware First with a goal of $ 1 billion to fuel change and innovation for students, faculty, campus and the world.

For more information call 302-831-2104 or email [email protected]


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