CEL student Dongyu Zu contributed this post to the Olin Blog.
Our team of five had an incredible opportunity to collaborate closely with the footwear company New Balance last semester through the Center for Experiential Learning’s practicum program.
We embarked on a project with a dual focus: developing a Python-based forecasting tool that estimated site traffic for the next 24 months and extracting unique insights from the data to improve the accuracy of site view forecasting.
Our CEL team consisted of Justin Matthews, MBA 2022 and team lead, Shradha Challa, MBA 2023, Dongyu Zu, MSBA 2023, Yifan Chen, MSBA 2023, and Haiyue Weng, MSBA 2023.
During the project, we held regular meetings with our client at New Balance and Professor Peter Boumgarden, CEL Scholar Ishmael Kodjoe-Tadekah, Impact Advisor Eriko Pope and Professor Seethu Seetharaman. The meetings served as platforms for sharing progress and insights and receiving valuable feedback. The collaboration deepened our understanding of modeling techniques and strategies, ultimately contributing to the project’s success.
Insights and opportunities
The resulting forecasting tool has provided New Balance with invaluable insights and opportunities. It empowers cost savings by providing a deeper understanding of future demands, enabling more favorable contract negotiations. It also facilitates visualizing and comparing country-specific data, empowering the marketing team to understand the impact of campaigns on key countries.
We also had the opportunity to visit the New Balance corporate office in St. Louis, and we received shoes and clothes as gifts. It was an exciting and insightful experience to see the inner workings of such a renowned brand.
This experience highlighted the power of teamwork and collaboration. I recognized that we were not just individual contributors, but an interdependent team striving towards a shared goal. Moreover, through practical application and exposure to real-world scenarios, I have deepened my knowledge and honed my skills in forecasting modeling techniques and marketing analysis.
Immersing myself in the dynamic environment of an American company and a renowned brand has exposed me to a professional setting characterized by high standards and a relentless pursuit of excellence. This experience has given me firsthand exposure to the work culture, practices and expectations prevalent in such organizations, which has been invaluable in shaping my professional growth.
The CEL practicum experience with New Balance was the highlight of our semester. We not only developed a powerful forecasting tool and gained unique insights, but we grew individually and as a team. We are grateful for the opportunity to have collaborated with New Balance!
Pictured: Ishmael Kodjoe-Tadekah; Shradha Challa, Justin Matthews, Yifan Chen, Dongyu Zu, Haiyue Weng and New Balance Senior Manager Adam Word.