MMAI Students Turn Real Data into Valuable Growth Insights
AI is transforming industries and our MMAI students are at the forefront of this change. Each year they engage in a six-month consulting project where they help companies experiment, innovate and adapt in the AI and Analytics space.
In 2020 one group of MMAI students worked with Portl, an exciting startup that focuses on entertainment for the sharing economy. They provide engaging in-car entertainment to thousands of Lyft and Uber riders. “We have been collecting data on the rideshare entertainment space for quite some time and we weren’t sure the best place to start using it,” said Dan Forte, Head of Partnerships at Portl.
With the help of Schulich’s MMAI students, Portl decided to use the historic and live data to understand consumer behavior, the different types of riders, and timing of when drivers started or stopped a ride for a passenger. This data led to valuable insights that Portl used to accelerate its growth.
Anuvrat Baruah worked on the project with fellow MMAI students Lucas Shi, Jessica Xie and Paige Liang. He enjoyed the challenge of having access to real, raw data and direct contact with the Portl team. “Our MMAI courses provided a great foundation, but analyzing a haphazard collection of real, valuable data into useful, actionable information that can be applied in real-time to an actual business to help it grow was a tremendous learning experience,” Anuvrat said.
Portl Media (co-founded by Schulich MBA ’14 Wyatt Shaw and also past Schulich Startup Night Champions) got the results they were seeking with the AI Consulting Project and they had the opportunity to experience the professionalism and highly specialized skills of Schulich’s MMAI students.
“I have many business colleagues that would be interested in participating in this program to get the same opportunity we got this semester working with the MMAI students,” said Dan. “Schulich is very supportive of its students getting experience at startups, large and small. While there is a lot you can learn at the enterprise level, a startup is where you can get your hands dirty and really see the process from top to bottom.”