Shaping Business One Project at a Time
College of Business and Economics Students Find Ways to Improve Company Processes
Alexandra Malfant and Lucas Rovic used class time to help Micron Technology find ways for the Boise-based computer chip maker to be more efficient.
The two University of Idaho students worked as part of a team to assess Micron’s operational systems through their Business Process Center class for their operations management degrees. College of Business and Economics Instructor Todd Martin led the class in spring 2018.
Micron develops and manufactures memory and semiconductor devices — the electronic components of computers. The company asked the team to assess the company's operations.
Malfant, a 23-year-old senior from Leon, France, said working with such a well-known company provided both exciting experiences and difficult challenges.
“We obviously can’t learn everything there is to learn about such a large company,” Malfant said. “But it really did give us a taste of what an operations manager would do out in the real world.”
The team used the computer software ProModel to organize their research and analyze the company’s operations, said Rovic, a 27-year-old senior from Boise. The software allowed the team to dig into Micron’s current production schedule.
“We look to figure out the most efficient way of running various scenarios to find the best strategy for the company," Rovic said.
Micron provided the team a set of data from the company’s production systems, and the team compared the current mode of production and a number of potential changes to the production process. Using computer simulations, they calculated differences in efficiency and output.
“With Micron, as a whole, there is just so much to the company. There are thousands of steps the company must go through just to build a single memory chip,” Rovic said. “It takes a while to wrap your head around all that.”
In general, companies don’t ask the teams in the Business Process Center class to solve specific problems, but rather to look holistically for areas of improvement and make recommendations.
"We obviously can’t learn everything there is to learn about such a large company. But it really did give us a taste of what an operations manager would do out in the real world." Alexandra Malfant, business and economics undergraduate
“I found it surprising how broad and how complex this kind of work can be,” Malfant said. “They always say business is business, but there is so much more to business than we often think — that’s where this work comes in.”
The team met with Micron employees to begin the project and again at the end of the semester to present their research. In addition to the real-world business experience the students received, Rovic said the class helped them gain confidence in presenting their research.
Rovic and Malfant graduated in fall 2018. Because of Rovic’s relationship with the company, Micron offered him a job after graduation. And Malfant said she is keeping her business career options open after graduation.
“This class gave me the confidence to be able to work with professionals,” Malfant said. “It taught me how crucial teamwork can be to business.”
Article by Hailey Stewart, a senior from Middleton majoring in journalism.
Photos by Nicole Etchemendy, a junior from Teton Valley who is studying creative writing with minors in philosophy and journalism.
Published in March 2019.