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MDS Employer Spotlight: GLENTEL Inc.

Nov 25 / 2020

Glentel is a retailer of mobile phone services operating over 350 wireless outlets in the malls across Canada. Corporate banners include WIRELESSWAVE and Tbooth wireless, as well as kiosks in Costco warehouses under the Wireless etc. brand.

Headquartered in Burnaby, BC the company has 2,000 employee and is owned by BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc.

As a retail company, GLENTEL has a large amount of transactional data from sales, employee and customer details and opinions. The organization incorporated aspects of data science in reporting and building of data marts where traditional methods wouldn’t be able to handle the scope of the data.

“Data science has helped us to work with large data sets. We recently partnered with a team from UBC MDS program to develop a model to identify keywords in resumes which correlate with employee performance,” said Elena Bobyreva, Director of HR with GLENTEL.

The tool that the team from the UBC MDS program developed was part of the eight-week capstone that all students go through as part of the curriculum. The capstone project gives students an opportunity to work with real data to address a question facing their capstone client’s organization using data science. 

“At Glentel the students worked closely with members, human resources, and business intelligence teams. We wanted to make sense of people data by building on descriptive analytics that we had in the HR dashboard. We asked the students to help us gain better insights from the information or develop a model that would help identify trends and predict performance,” said Bobyreva on why GLENTEL wanted to submit a capstone proposal.

The initial proposal that GLENTEL submitted to the MDS program was fairly open-ended as the organization was open to having students find the answers to any one of a series of HR-focused questions. The potential topics put forth included: key drivers of employee productivity, key drivers of employee retention, and developing a predictive staffing model for their stores.

“After sitting down with the team of UBC MDS students that we partnered with, we realized that one of our richest sources of data were the many resumes collected during the recruitment process. In combination with sales performance, we decided to focus on resume analysis,” added Keith Nowak, Business Intelligence Supervisor with GLENTEL.

Nowak said that they wanted to work with UBC’s MDS students because they were looking to tap into the technical skills and expertise that MDS students had to offer.

“UBC was an easy choice given the program’s reputation as one of the top data science programs in Canada and how well structured the process is for the capstone project,” she added, “When we participated in the capstone fair, we quickly came to recognize that students from this program demonstrated an ability to tackle many interesting projects in partnership with numerous well-known industry partners.”

Members of GLENTEL’s HR and BI teams met in person with the MDS students only for a couple of meetings because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They mostly collaborated over Microsoft Teams and ZOOM for the duration of the project.

“Each of the students on our MDS team was knowledgeable, inquisitive, and showed genuine interest in solving the questions at hand. They were not afraid to dig deep into our data and we thought each of them had diverse backgrounds of experience to draw from as they engaged with us. We also appreciated the work of the team’s assigned mentor, as her guidance and coordination certainly supported the team’s success,” said Nowak.

With the success of this capstone project, Bobyreva confirmed that GLENTEL will be submitting another project this year.

“Many organizations today are sitting on vast amounts of data but are struggling to go beyond simple descriptive analytics. Our partnership with the team of MDS students provided us with the expertise to go beyond these surface-level insights and dig deeper into factors affecting our business. We are looking forward to the opportunity to partner with students from the program on more projects in the future!” added Bobyreva.

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