The Master of Science in Information Technology – eBusiness Technology is a program within the Institute for Software Research. The degree program offers no classes, rather, students work full-time for 10 months in teams of five on a series of 16 separate eBusiness projects requiring them to produce professional consulting-quality output, including system designs, specifications, working code, business analyses and persuasive business presentations. The premise: the students are actually employees of a hypothetical eBusiness consulting company which performs work for real clients. Teams compete for the Best Practicum Award.
The students rotate through four consulting practices: health care, banking, retail and logistics. Each task is supervised by two faculty members, one an area expert and the other a mentor to guide the students in completing each task.
After task 16, students are experts in team organization and management, and work on a real problem provided by an industrial sponsor. The grading criterion for the Practicum is sponsor satisfaction, as it would be in a true consulting engagement. Each project must present a demonstrable software prototype, which is licensed to the sponsor.
Each team provides a private presentation to its sponsor, and a brief public presentation to a panel of outside judges. The judges select one winner of the Practicum Prize, and one successful team will receive $14,000. The second-place team will receive $7000.