Research Challenges: what are they?
At present Research Challenges have become the new way to facilitate interaction between firms and Universities.
What happens is that a firm, an industry or frequently a professional association launches a Research Challenge, each year focusing on a different topic. Universities join the Research Challenge, each university selecting a few students who become members of the team working on the proposed topic. Finally, the Universities’ teams meet with firm representatives and experts to present their projects. A jury composed of professional experts and academics deliver a ranking of the projects presentations and nominate the winners of the Challenge.
Students of Finance traditionally participate to the CFA Research challenge and we are proud to recall that the MEFI team (the Master Programme MEDI derives from) achieved the victory in the 2018 challenge with a project on Moncler, the famous Italian luxury brand, joining then the European Competition in Dublin (see the news here).
Since 2020 students of the curriculum Industrial Organization join the BACS Research Challenge sponsored by IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis). In 2020 the MEFI team (“Fiori di BACS”) achieved the victory within the first edition of this Research Challenge as their project was appreciated as the closest one to the step of product introduction into the market. In 2021 the new MEFI team (“Ticinensis”) was participating with a project on the diffusion of smart working.
Business Analysis: what is it?
Nowadays, business analysts play a key role inside innovative firms. The demand for this type of professionals is continuously growing in the job market. A lot of MEFI graduates (the Master Programme MEDI derives from), especially those who attended the industrial organization curriculum, are now involved in this profession, as the training we offer is particularly suitable as a background to develop business analysts skills.
But what is Business Analysis? According to the Business Analysis Book of knowledge (BABOK), Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an enterprise, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. Starting from this definition it is possible to understand that a business analyst is responsible for discovering, synthesizing and analysing information from a variety of sources (some business analyst specialize to become Data analysts), with the aim of eliciting the actual needs of stakeholders and trying to align them with the designed and delivered solutions.
We can list the main activities of a business analyst, by considering the several steps of an innovative project: the starting point is to understand firms’ problems and goals, these are considered as inputs to define needs and design solutions. Once the business analyst has found a solution, it is necessary to define a strategy able to drive the change inside the firm as well as facilitating stakeholders’ collaboration beyond the life of a project.