Duke MQM Student Blog
Lessons from My Capstone Project with the Duke University Baseball Team
My Capstone Project was consulting for the Duke University Baseball team.
Graduating from Fuqua’s Master of Quantitative Management (MQM) program was a life-changing experience, and it benefits me both in the short term and long term. In the short term, I learned both the technical side and business side of business analytics. I learned tools such as SQL, R, and Tableau and how to apply them in different business functions.
Having these skills helped me be prepared and be more marketable in the job market. Also, I received exposure to different impactful projects, such as analyzing data for the Duke University Baseball team, where I got real-life business analytics experience.
The Capstone Project is an important part of the MQM program, and my Capstone Project was consulting for the Duke University Baseball team. It’s a six-week project at the end of the MQM program and a great opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge I learned over the past months.
The business problem for the Duke baseball project is to improve the performance of pitchers from a data perspective. I was on a team of five (Chris Boyle, Dilan Patel, Malika Mohan, and Xuming Gu) and utilized SQL, R, and Tableau to build actionable dashboards and regression models to help coaches redesign their training and in-game strategy.
Before embarking on this project, none of us knew a great deal about baseball. After the project, I learned meaningful metrics of valuing a pitcher’s performance. For example, a general strike rate of a pitcher does not provide much insight, but strike rate under different, two-pitch sequences can help the pitching coach pick the best pitching strategy in a game.
Aside from the technical skills I used in all my projects, I also mastered my communication skills. The communication skills I fine-tuned focused on three parts:
1. What is the business problem and how to learn from feedback?
2. What is the best method to cooperate with teammates and supervisors?
3. How can I tell a great story and provide actionable insights to non-technical audiences?
The key to a successful business analytics project is providing an actionable solution that solves the problems that audiences care about. And you need good communication skills to achieve this goal.
I would recommend checking out Fuqua’s MQM program if you are interested in starting a career as a business analyst or data analyst. During the program, I got opportunities to team up with new classmates to work through our classes together every two months. This helped me find my role and develop a working style conducive to the diverse teams approach that Fuqua embraces. Lastly, it provided me opportunities to practice my leadership skills. In the long run, the MQM program allowed me to learn more about myself and expand my network.