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On Thursday November 29th, we closed out the SAP Analytics Project with the University of Notre Dame Student International Business Council with a presentation to Notre Dame and SAP Stakeholders. The project was sponsored by Notre Dame’s Office of Procurement Services. The office provided two large purchasing related data sets for the team of eleven students to analyze using the SAP Analytics Cloud and other tools. The project prompt was: “How can Procurement Services more accurately categorize purchases and combine all of the data sources to fully understand what is being purchased to better support contract negotiations and direct purchasing behavior to achieve the best value for the University”.  

Through our ongoing work with Notre Dame on curriculum and extra-curricular co-innovation projects, we were able to identify this area of university business as particularly well suited to an analytics project. The data was cleansed of confidential information and under a non-disclosure arrangement the students were asked to look for patterns, correlations or opportunities across purchasing categories. The students benefitted from the opportunity to work with a significantly complex and business relevant data set and analyze it for possible business actions. The STEM division worked on the project for about one hour each week over the course of the fall semester as an extracurricular exercise and used SAP Analytics Cloud for Higher Education for the project work. In addition, students had access to expert assistance from Notre Dame and SAP Digital Business Services professionals along the way. The students involved delivered a very professional presentation of their findings and recommendations to Notre Dame that will help influence some of the purchasing practices at the university.

The Notre Dame Council on International Business Development was founded in 1989 by a group of dedicated students at the University of Notre Dame under the inspiration of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh and in collaboration with the current benefactor, Mr. Frank Potenziani. These students recognized the changing nature of the global economy, and how companies could no longer concentrate solely on the domestic market. The students believed these changes offered a meaningful opportunity to gain valuable business experience.

Through their vision, they formed what has become the largest student-run organization on Notre Dame’s campus. Known since 2000 as the Student International Business Council (SIBC), the SIBC seeks to fulfill its vision of “Peace through Commerce” by interacting with global companies and organizations, while educating its members and the Notre Dame community on the different aspects of international business. Since its inception, the group has grown from a small activity within the business college to the largest student organization on campus, and now includes over 500 active members from both the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College.

The SIBC draws upon the resources of the University, comprehensive library research, a distinguished faculty, and a close relationship with the vast network of dedicated Notre Dame alumni, including the International Business Council. These opportunities allow SIBC members to expand their horizons and gain international exposure to a variety of business disciplines. The SIBC encourages students from all majors and interests to become active members of the organization with the hope of bringing a variety of perspectives to issues regarding international business and economics.