You did such a wonderful job last time that Southwest College (SWC) has hired you to help with some additional projects. Remember, the administrators have a lot of experience in education but precious little in data analysis. They have hired you to help them understand their data and make sound decisions.
SWC has provided you with as much information as they have, and it is up to you to determine the best quantitative approach to answering their questions. SWC has also made it clear that it is crucial that you explain what you are doing in a way such that a group of people unfamiliar with quantitative analysis can understand what you are doing and feel comfortable with the results. If you just provide a numerical answer to their questions, while still helpful, this will not meet their expectations for the project.
SWC has requested that you answer their questions in the form of a business report in MS Word format. Simply typing in answers to their questions below will be construed as a lack of professionalism. The writing must be free of errors and easy to understand. The exact design of the report is up to you, as long as it is clearly formatted as a report, looks professional, and all issues are addressed in an organized and coherent manner. As is your policy, you are to include any equations and calculations that you have done to be completely transparent. Any graphs or diagrams should be included in the body of the report or in an appendix.
The VP of admissions at SWC knows from past experience how many of the students that apply to the school will actually end up attending and generating revenue (the “conversion rate”). However, it is always a guess as to how many students will end up applying each year, so projecting revenue and expenses is difficult. The VP would like a systematic way to predict applications for next year based on the number of applications in years past. The VP would like you to present at least three different methods to predict applications for next year, along with at least two ways to determine which prediction method is best. Which method would you recommend? Why? The number of applications received in previous years is found in Tab 1 of the Excel file “Case 3 Data”.
The VP of admissions has a second concern as well. There are variety of ways to attract students and increase applications. The university can purchase online advertising, send out traditional mailings, and do in-person recruiting at various functions. The VP estimates that each online ad will result in 50 new applications, each traditional mailing will result in 30 new applications, and each recruiting event will result in 12 new applications. Online advertising costs $850 per ad, mailings cost $600 each, and in-person recruiting events cost $300 per appearance. The university wants to maintain a broad presence, so at least 3 of each form of recruiting is desired. There are limited personnel available for recruiting, so a maximum of 5 in-person recruiting events can be managed. At least half of the advertising must be online, as the university president wants to expand enrollments in on-line programs. The VP has a budget of $7,000. The VP wants to understand the mathematical problem that must be solved to figure out how many of each type of advertising should be used, and have an Excel file that can solve the problem. (For convenience, feel free to solve the problem in terms of partial units…i.e. the final answer can be 1.2 online ads, 2.6 mailings, etc.). Based on your results, what marketing strategy would you recommend to the VP? What would be the impact of increasing the marketing budget by $2,000?
And finally, the President of SWC has decided that the organizational structure of the university is suboptimal. As such, the President is ready to kick off a project aimed at reorganizing the university departments. She has created the following list of activities and completion times, but would like your help visualizing the project map. The President is also concerned about the length of the project, and wants to know the probability that the project will be finished within 57 weeks (assuming project finish times follow a normal distribution). Be sure to document ALL STEPS needed to reach this probability calculation.
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