Newswise — AUSTIN, Texas — A collaboration between USAA and the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin will support a new Center for Research and Analytics, which will serve as a main hub for research at the school.

The center will foster interaction and collaboration among faculty, industry leaders, and students, to better understand and address significant business problems of value to both industry and academia. 

“The Center for Research and Analytics is a great resource for attracting and developing the next generation of elite business thinkers,” said Jay Hartzell, dean of the McCombs School. “We envision that it will help facilitate data exchange between academia and industry, while also providing the opportunity to team up on research that addresses pressing industry challenges.” 

“USAA leverages data to understand our member’s needs, so we can create exceptional experiences to meet those needs,” said Eric Smith, USAA Chief Data and Analytics Officer. “We see this collaboration as an opportunity to work alongside researchers to discover breakthrough ways to apply data and analytics across a broad spectrum of needs.”

Kumar Muthuraman, professor in the Information, Risk, and Operations Management department, will serve as the center’s director and will focus on identifying mutually beneficial research opportunities for McCombs’ researchers and corporate partners.

“The hope is to get a better idea of what topics are compelling from the industry perspective and share exciting academic research in return,” said Muthuraman. “We believe having this conversation will help create a more vibrant research community. 

USAA Modeling Analyst Lead and Academic Research Director Igor Frolow will serve as the inaugural executive-in-residence for the center.  Frolow, a former professor at Oberlin College in Ohio, will serve as an expert resource for students and faculty, and will guest lecture various McCombs School classes.

“The center is a huge step forward in facilitating research collaboration and finding new ways to collect and examine data,” said Susan Broniarczyk, associate dean for research. “Our goal is to mobilize a community of academics, students, and practitioners to come together on specific research initiatives.”

For more information, contact: Samantha Harris, McCombs School of Business, 512-471-6746