This summer, two MBA students were selected to work in the D.C. Department of Public Works (DPW) as part of a trial internship program between the department and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Paul LaCorte (MBA'18) and Leo Dzidziguri (MBA'18) spent three months in the Office of Organizational Effectiveness and Change Management, where they worked on a series of high-profile performance indicator studies. The office supports DPW’s operational Solid Waste Management, Parking Enforcement and Fleet Management administrations through performance management, data analysis, process improvement, strategic planning, and project management.
Throughout the summer, LaCorte and Dzidziguri focused on a management study requested by the city administrator to evaluate two critical fleet management areas — light vehicle repair turnaround and city-wide compliance with preventative maintenance appointments. Both areas are vital to keeping a healthy District government fleet available for a wide range of public services.
The project involved intensive data collection, analysis, and visualization; process mapping; site visits; and audits. The team, which was led by Vasil Jaiani, chief performance officer, delivered a comprehensive report to the department’s executive team as well as to the city administrator.
“We were involved in projects that required knowledge from multiple fields,” said Dzidziguri. “For example, I performed statistical analysis on several years of data to identify reasons why the Fleet Management division could not meet its key performance indicators, while at the same time studying the operations and recommending a new map for more efficient processes.”
LaCorte and Dzidziguri also worked on a data integrity project to ascertain data accuracy in the DPW integrated data warehouse as compared to primary data sources.
"A large part of our work involved using data to tell a story and highlight areas for improvement within the fleet vehicle maintenance process," said LaCorte. "Our analysis allowed us to recommend concrete steps to improve operations that were grounded in data and, as a result, were likely to be adopted."
The experience was rewarding for the second-year MBA students and utilized skills they have learned in the classroom.
“I learned the importance of being comfortable showing others drafts of my work, asking them for feedback, and incorporating the feedback. This gave me a chance to learn and grow from other people's experiences,” Dzidziguri added. “Presenting our recommendations to the executives also helped me to employ soft skills acquired during my leadership and negotiations classes.”