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MS&E 108 Senior Project

Five Fridays in 200-034
January 9, 16, and 30, 10-11am;
March 6 and 13, 9:15-11:50am

Announcements

Students, please do not wait until our first class to form your four-student team or to arrange for a project.
To register your team or for help finding a team or teammate(s), please visit the Teams page.


Course Assistant Austin Deyan can be reached at adeyan "at" stanford "dot" edu.


Seniors Majoring in MS&E,
MS&E 108, Senior Project, is required of all MS&E majors during their senior year, and is only offered during the Winter Quarter.
During the winter quarter, students will work in teams of four on public service and industrial consulting projects.

An organizational meeting will be held at noon on Tuesday, November 11 in Thornton 110 for those students planning to take MS&E&E 108, Senior Project during Winter Quarter 2014-2015. The meeting will provide an opportunity to meet other students in the course and ask questions of the course faculty.

It is not too early to form your team and to develop any leads you may have for potential projects.

Regardless whether you attend the meeting, you can obtain all of the information at this web site, including the syllabus on the Handouts page.


MS&E 108 Course Description

The course faculty this year are Professors Stephen Barley, Warren Hausman, Riitta Katila, Elisabeth Pate-Cornell, Ross Shachter (course coordinator), and Melissa Valentine.
Faculty contact information is on the Contacts page.

This course is devoted completely to your senior project. You form four-person teams, preferably by December 2014, but no later than January 9, 2015. Each team is responsible for identifying an organization with a project that can be addressed using methodology learned in your MS&E courses. MS&E faculty have contacts at a number of local organizations with potential projects. Contact Prof. Shachter as soon as possible for details if you anticipate needing assistance identifying a project. (You must form and register a four-person team before requesting project leads.)

The learning outcomes of this course are to help you further develop the following skills:

Your team will be assigned a faculty advisor who will serve as a combination consultant and supervisor throughout the quarter, and who must approve your project. Both a written and an oral report are required. You should work with the Communications Program in the School of Engineering for help with your oral report. Finally, just as in the "real world," deadlines are crucial, and missing them bears consequences.

Your faculty advisor will assign grades to your team based primarily on your final oral and written reports. Advisors will also take into account your contribution to the team's efforts, and your attendance at class and project team meetings.

Standards for Professional Behavior

The course prepares students for careers as professionals applying the concepts of management science. Students should think of 108 as training for the real world where tardiness and absences reflect on your qualifications. We expect professional behavior from students, including being proactive and assuming responsibility rather than making excuses for progress not made. Being punctual for meetings with your faculty advisor and industry clients, attending all class and group sessions, and delivering quality written materials on time are part of these norms. Your grade will reflect your ability to meet these norms.

Project Description

The Project Description is due from all teams by 6pm on Tuesday January 20, 2015, submitted via the course web site, regardless whether you have finalized your project. It describes the problem your team will be tackling, what you plan to do, and how you plan to do it, and it allows us to assign faculty advisors to teams. It contains the following sections:
  1. Project title;
  2. Administrative information (client organization contact name and telephone numbers, and emails of organization contact and all team members);
  3. Statement or description of the problem, approaches you plan to use, and nature of the results you plan to deliver; and
  4. A schedule of 5-6 available meeting times (one hour blocks between 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday) when your entire team can meet with your faculty advisor. (Note that your team is assumed to be available during class time, Fridays at 10am, and some faculty might also be able to schedule evening meetings, if you want to include some additional meeting times.)

Project Team Meetings

All teams will be responsible for scheduling weekly meetings with their faculty advisor at a mutually convenient time. All team members are expected to attend each meeting. In preparation for each meeting, your team should email a one or two page summary at least 24 hours prior to the meeting, copying everyone on the team. The summary should contain these items:
  1. A review of work accomplished since the last meeting,
  2. A description of what work will be done next, and
  3. A list of questions and issues to be discussed at the meeting.
To facilitate preparation for your team's meeting with your faculty advisor, you should schedule a second, working meeting with your team once each week, several days prior to the meeting with your faculty advisor.

Written Report

You submit your final written report to your faculty advisor (in hardcopy), the oclient organization, and the course archives. Your written report should contain these items:

Please use at least 1.5 line spacing and reasonable font size for readability; number body pages 1, 2 . . . and Appendix pages A-1, B-1, B-2, C-1 . . . and use those numbers when referring to material in an Appendix.

There is no minimum or maximum number of pages in the body of the report or in the appendices. Typical reports will have a body length of between 10 and 20 pages and between 5 and 15 pages of Appendix material.

Discuss the content with your faculty advisor. Ideally, you should prepare sections of the report (e.g., project description, methods, etc.) as you progress along the project timeline. Your grade will likely suffer if you leave all the writing to the end.

The written report will comprise the majority of your course grade, as modified by your attendance and your contribution to the project's success. In grading reports, faculty advisors evaluate both technical content and presentation style (including such things as appropriate organization, use of headings, clear explanations and charts, and absence of grammatical errors or misspellings). The report should clearly reflect your effort during the quarter and the quality of your solution; in other words, it should represent your achievement. You may ask your advisor to discuss with you specifics of what he or she expects in the context of your particular project.

You should submit the final written report to your faculty advisor, your client organization, and the course archives by the last day of class (March 13, 2015).

Oral Presentation

During the last two weeks of the quarter, each team will make a 12-minute oral presentation to the class. All team members should participate equally, both in time and effort. Please bring your presentation to class on your computer with any necessary video adapter, along with a copy on a flash drive as a backup, and submit it afterwards to the course archives. Dress code is business professional, such as suits, and all students are invited and expected to attend a Faculty Club lunch with their advisors afterward.

Please inform the people you have worked with at the client organization that they are welcome to attend our final oral presentations and a lunch afterward. They truly enjoy being invited, being introduced to the class, and listening to the results of projects. You should also offer to present your findings to the organization.

All teams are expected to schedule and attend at least one tutorial with the staff of the School of Engineering's Oral Communication Program in the Terrace level of the Huang Engineering Center, at least a week before your presentation in class. Do not wait until the last minute to schedule your tutorials.

Every year Accenture sponsors monetary awards to be split between the top two senior project oral presentations in MS&E 108. The course faculty determines the winning teams based on the oral presentations, and the awards will be presented at commencement. Criteria for judging the presentations include ample motivation for the problem, sufficient support for the methodology, clear explanation of the results, and quality of presentation skills.