DeSales University has joined forces with Dr. Kamran Afshar, a leading economist, on a groundbreaking new data analytics center that will put students at the forefront of research and consulting.
The Kamran Afshar Data Analytics Center at DeSales University (KADAC) will open in January 2018 in the Gambet Center for Business and Healthcare.
“It is an educational entity,” says Afshar, president of Kamran Afshar Associates, Inc. “It is there to get the students involved in data analytics as it impacts real-life events. We will have heavy student involvement in the process.”
The center will provide paid internships for undergraduate students to conduct research and consulting projects under the guidance of Afshar and select faculty members.
Prospective clients will include banks, retailers, and housing and real estate developers, as well as local and state governments. Students will work real-world client projects — everything from customer satisfaction surveys and business purchasing intentions to economic impact analyses. But the list doesn’t end there.
Afshar also plans to partner with different academic departments and divisions across the University, including healthcare, education, and criminal justice for starters.
“The synergy of working cross disciplines will manifest itself in a variety of different ways,” he says. “This partnership will benefit all stakeholders – business clients, students, the extended Lehigh Valley community, local government bodies, and others. The data analytics field is not limited to one functional discipline; we are only limited by our imagination.”
Not only will Dr. Afshar bring his expertise to the center, he’ll have decades’ worth of data on consumer prices, business sentiment, and more. He’ll also return to the classroom to teach — beginning with a course on predictive analytics — one of his favorite subjects.
“This partnership is going to separate us from others,” says Dr. David Gilfoil, director of the MBA program. “We’ve done our homework and looked at some of the offerings of other universities and colleges. Yes, they have data analytics courses and certificates, but our Data Analytics Center is the only one with Kamran Afshar – he is our crown jewel. We are blessed and excited to have his passion, expertise, and data analytics know-how focused on serving our students, clients, and community.”
According to Afshar, the need for data analytics will only continue to grow as the workforce evolves and things like self-driving cars, package-delivering drones, and robo-physicians become commonplace.
“The way we’re going to train people for the workforce 20 years from now will be totally different,” Afshar says. “Big data analyses will show us critical trends, how they are changing, and how those changes will impact different sectors of the economy.”