Q&A with Aurora Castillo (MSBA’23): MSBA Students Partner with Gray Associates on Capstone Project
Georgetown McDonough’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program (MSBA) and Gray Associates, Inc. have collaborated to better envision the future of higher education enrollment numbers, coursework options, new programs, and beyond – through real-time data analysis and experiences.
The ongoing capstone project utilizes real-life classroom knowledge of MSBA students – and their diverse professional expertise – to create relevant results for the client while students simultaneously gain an advanced understanding of higher education consulting.
We spoke with capstone project lead, Aurora Castillo (MSBA’23), about her experience working with Gray Associates, Inc. and how her team plans to use business analytics to improve tangible business functions and processes through advanced data collection.
Describe the capstone project that you’ve been working on with Gray Associates. What does it entail?
The capstone project challenges our team to apply technical skills and overall knowledge of business analytics to a real-world business problem. It requires our team to have a functional understanding of business analytics and to have confidence in skills acquired in the classroom. Not only does it push us to test our knowledge, but it gives us an opportunity to deepen our understanding of business analytics as a team and work together to solve complex problems that may not have been covered in class. Overall, the real-world application offers a timely test of knowledge and a chance to grow one’s understanding of business analytics.
Do you believe your project has made an impact on your clients at Gray Associates?
We believe our deliverable to Gray Associates will make a positive impact on their business. We are still in the first few stages of our analysis, but we have been in close communication with Gray, and we have an understanding of exactly what they are looking for, given the data they’ve provided. We are confident that our analysis will lead to the creation of a useful tool in their realm of work.
Is there a particular person – either on your team or in the Georgetown community– that has been instrumental to your success on this project?
One person who has been instrumental to the success of our project has been our project partner, Youssef Aljabi. Youssef has provided the team with all of the resources necessary for the project and is always available to provide answers to our questions. I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight my capstone team members, Lauren Kwon, Than Htay, James DePaul, and Zach Klein. The project has been successful because everyone has worked diligently.
What has your overall experience been like in the MSBA program?
My overall experience in the program has been positive! The various topics offered in the MSBA program have allowed many of us to develop diverse skill sets. The program challenges you – but also provides support – to ensure you can successfully expand your knowledge. Lastly, the opportunity to meet with classmates and colleagues in person through our residencies has made the learning experience more collaborative.
How do you plan to apply the skills you have learned at Georgetown in the next phase of your career?
I will leverage the technical skills I’ve learned to address business and government challenges, and will apply the different analytical tools and methods used in the program to effectively communicate insights within the workplace. Additionally, the rotational study groups have taught us that soft skills are just as important as technical skills. Effective communication is necessary to move forward with projects. Being able to work as part of a team is a skill required for success no matter the environment. I look forward to continuing to utilize and develop these skills.