UGA statistics department, State Farm partner on new graduate program

Students will gain industry experience through MAGNet program

June 20, 2014

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Athens, Ga. - The University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of statistics and State Farm Insurance Companies will cooperate on a new program beginning this fall that will partner students pursuing a master's degree in statistics with the Fortune 50 company.

The Modeling and Analytics Graduate Network, or MAGNet, program will provide participating students with support—such as paid tuition and fees and financial compensation—while they pursue a master's degree at UGA. In return, students will spend 20 hours a week—40 hours a week during the summer semester—conducting real-life research on projects directed by the Strategic Resources Department of State Farm.

"Our aim is to attract between two and four students for the MAGNet program at the University of Georgia this fall and eventually increase that number to as many as eight students," said Laurette Stiles, vice president of the Strategic Resources Department for State Farm. "Our department is experiencing a growing demand to provide analytics skills and expertise to areas across State Farm as the company enhances our ability to identify and meet customer needs."

The UGA statistics department "is very excited to partner with State Farm on building the MAGNet program at the University of Georgia," said John Stufken, a UGA professor and statistics department head. "The partnership creates a win-win situation by helping us attract strong (master's) degree students who will acquire the skills needed to help State Farm in meeting their growing analytics demands."

Students accepted into the UGA master's degree program in statistics will be able to apply for the MAGNet program, which will be patterned after a similar program operated successfully at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2006.

"We see the MAGNet program as a good opportunity to invest in the development of some of the brightest students in the field of advanced analytics and statistics, and hopefully engage them as full-time employees once they graduate," Stiles said. "We've wanted to expand the program to the Southeast for some time, and we are pleased to be able to form a partnership with a quality institution such as the University of Georgia."

State Farm will be leasing office space near the UGA campus to house the program.

"It is clear that the market is really quite strong for our graduates," said Dan Hall, an associate professor of statistics and associate department head. "Companies like our traditional approach that offers strong training in the core of statistics and statistical modeling, not following specialized techniques or novel trends but giving students the kind of foundation that companies can then build on when they hire our graduates."

Master's students in statistics at UGA typically number around 20, not counting secondary master's students from other disciplines. Less than one-quarter of these are usually supported by assistantships.

"The MAGNet program will be a great opportunity for some of our most promising statistics master's students," said Alan Dorsey, dean of the Franklin College. "Being approached by State Farm is a great compliment on our statistics department, and the collaboration will strengthen our program by helping us attract an even stronger pool of master's students."

For more information on the UGA department of statistics, the master's degree program and the MAGNet program, see http://www.stat.uga.edu or call 706-542-5232.

State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and the leading insurer in Canada. Their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts—more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the U.S. and Canada and nearly 2 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, see www.statefarm.com.

Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is America's first state-chartered university and Georgia's largest and most comprehensive educational institution. More information on the university is available at www.uga.edu.

 

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