Three Adelphi students at computers

Students get hands-on industry experience working on statistical consulting projects that deliver results for Hiatus and

Today’s employers look at more than GPAs; they seek well-rounded applicants who have gained relevant real-world work experience through internships in their chosen fields. Adelphi has long been committed to providing students with exceptional internships outside the classroom as well as opportunities in class that provide students with on-the-job experience.

Case in point: students of Anil Venkatesh, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, partnered with Hiatus, a provider of software that helps people unlock personalized financial advice, and online retailer

These projects are mutually beneficial to students, who gain practical experience in using data analytics techniques, and industry partners who receive something of tangible value.

Meeting Student—and Industry Partner—Needs

Anil Venkatesh, PhD, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science

Dr. Venkatesh teaches a graduate level capstone course in a statistical consulting. In Spring 2023, he supervised six undergraduate and graduate students, most of whom are part of Adelphi’s Statistics/Applied Mathematics and Data Science 4+1 program, to develop a marketing analytics model for Hiatus.

Mediated by Dr. Venkatesh, the Adelphi student team of Michael Gabriel ’22, MS ’23; Daniel de las Heras Garcia ’23; Joshua Pam ’21, MS ’23; Ryan Pittman ’23; Matthew Sirico ’22, MS ’23; and Lauren Toland ’23 analyzed everything from Hiatus’ target audience to its marketing budget.

After four months, Hiatus received a “general purpose” software package that can guide the strategic allocation of capital for different media platforms. Ultimately, the software will be foundational to Hiatus’ development of targeted, cost-effective new marketing campaigns that meet their goals. “Its machine learning algorithm will read new data and come up with proposed allocations,” Dr. Venkatesh noted.

“If you hired one student as an intern, they wouldn’t deliver something that complete,” Dr. Venkatesh remarked. “Instead, Hiatus got six students, and a professor, in the mix. But I didn’t do any of the work or write a single line of code. I insured we had something of value for the client at the end of the semester.”

A Great Fit for Students and Clients

Jeff Wang, vice president of growth for Hiatus, raved about the experience in his LinkedIn post, writing that the students “at Adelphi University … leveraged their honed skills in applied statistics to build a workable media mix model with Hiatus.” He added, “I was impressed not only in the professional growth of the students but also in the practical output we ended up with,” rating it a “9.5/10 wonderful experience.”

As a 4+1 student, Pittman will be earning his master’s degree in applied mathematics and data science. For the Hiatus project, he contributed to statistical analysis, work delegation and meeting presentations. “This opportunity exposed me to real-world statistical consulting work,” he said.

Pittman said he most valued learning how to build a relationship with a client. “It may alter my career path because I had never considered consulting before—and now I realize the true value of that line of work.”

The Sweet Smell of Success

For the past two years, Dr. Venkatesh and Juan Jaramillo, PhD, associate professor of decision sciences and marketing in Adelphi’s Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, have collaborated with e-commerce giant to coordinate interdisciplinary teams of students studying everything from statistics to business analytics in yearlong sales analytics projects for the company. funded student assistantships that enabled the teams to “deliver interesting concrete tools the company didn’t have, nor the in-house expertise to build,” Dr. Venkatesh said.

The students developed projections for how much sales would increase under hypothetical price markdowns for individual products. Impressed with the results, subsequently hired one of Dr. Venkatesh’s students for a one-year internship.

Dr. Venkatesh is hopeful that both Hiatus and will continue their partnerships in the coming academic year. And he is always on the lookout for other possibilities. “I enjoy cultivating relationships with companies,” he noted. “I live in the city and one way I meet new clients is through the recreational soccer league I’ve organized.”

A New Perspective on Math

With his own interests in engineering, linguistics, music and video games, Dr. Venkatesh admitted that he’s not the stereotypical math professor. “I like to tell my advisees that math is a tremendously valuable skill in the workplace—but in order to realize that value they have to mix it with other disciplines such as marketing or finance. When math is mixed with things, as in these industry consulting courses, it is dynamite.”

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