2021 UPS Smith Prize Tippie College of Business Department of Business Analytics
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa has been honored as one of the top colleges in the world for preparing students for careers in business analytics.

The college received the UPS George D. Smith Prize, which recognizes the leading university in the world for excellence in preparing students to practice in the areas of analytics or operations research. 

“The Department of Business Analytics began a self-renewal process 10 years ago with a shift from Management Sciences to a more broadly scoped view of using analytics to solve real-world business problems. This win is a testament to their grassroots efforts toward a more cutting-edge curriculum and deeper engagement with partners to create experiential opportunities for student learning,” said Dean Amy Kristof-Brown. “The addition of a strong communications component infused throughout the curriculum is a powerful accelerant of our students’ ability to solve problems and communicate solutions.”

American businesses are continually increasing their analytics operations as they seek new and innovative ways to use data to improve efficiency. As they hire more and more graduates with analytics degrees, Tippie has filled the need by adding new programs and expanding existing offerings for students. The Business Analytics and Information Systems (BAIS) undergraduate major was reorganized and expanded; new certificate and master’s-level programs in business analytics were added for full- and part-time students; and the analytics doctoral program was strengthened.

As a result, enrollment growth in the undergraduate program grew from 100 students in 2013-14 to nearly 500 in 2019-20. Even in the 2020-21 academic year, when higher education enrollment decreased across the board due to COVID-19 limitations, enrollment was still nearly 400 students.

The master’s and certificate programs have seen similar enrollment trends.

"We are honored to receive the UPS George D. Smith Prize from INFORMS. It's a tribute to our mission of developing storytellers with data," said Ann Campbell, Business Analytics Department Executive Officer (DEO) and Henry B. Tippie Research Professor. "This award is also a strong recognition of our faculty research and exceptional industry partnerships." 

Named in honor of the late UPS chief executive officer – a champion of operations researchers – the UPS George D. Smith Prize was created to strengthen ties between industry and the schools of higher education that graduate young practitioners of operations research. The prize is awarded to an academic department or program for effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research or analytics.

The prize is awarded by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the largest international association of analytics and operations research professionals. The presentation, featuring DEO Ann Campbell and several Tippie students, is available online.  

“On behalf of the INFORMS community, we congratulate the Department of Business Analytics at the University of Iowa for their exceptional efforts to provide high-level programs and teaching in operations research and analytics,” Elena Gerstmann, INFORMS executive director said in a news release. “Their work has played a key role in strengthening ties between academia and industry, making them a clear standout recipient for this award.”