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Barton School Partners with Helm Inc., on Innovative Applied Learning & Research Project

By Barton School of Business

The W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University has partnered with Helm Inc., a leading technology and services provider serving the automotive aftermarket, to initiate a collaborative research project to create “data-driven consumer insights.” With substantial undergraduate students’ involvement, this project investigates consumer attitudes and preferences toward extended warranties across multiple product lines and identifies the key factors driving consumer decisions to adopt extended service programs.

“Although the project is an academically oriented initiative, it will be the ultimate applied learning experience for our students as well,” said Dr. Sina Aghaie, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Barton School and research faculty lead on the project. “This is an entire semester of putting theory and knowledge to work, and making a tangible, real-world difference that is seldomly accessible to college students.”

The project will be split into three parts concluding at the end of the Fall 2023 semester. Students will produce a comprehensive report of in-depth analysis of business models employed by companies offering extended warranties in the consumer electronics, consumer appliances, and vehicle industries. Students will also identify key factors driving consumer decisions in the aforementioned industries. Finally, the research team will conduct additional data analysis by implementing advanced machine learning techniques on consumer reviews for extended warranties to determine the driving factors of extended warranty adoption. Helm’s oversight team will work with Dr. Aghaie and the students throughout the project to provide data, assist with access to  vehicle extended service markets and work with WSU students and faculty to publish the work.

“Partnerships with industry leaders can create enriching opportunities and value creation for our school and companies like Helm,” said Dr. Larisa Genin, Dean of the Barton School. “This deep dive research project will unlock minds and doors for our students while also providing Helm with the information they need to grow and innovate.”

Helm first formed in 1943 as a commercial trade bindery based in Detroit, Michigan. The company has since grown into a North American leader in tech enabled services and software for Brand Marketing Services, Engagement Marketing and Retail Network Marketing serving some of the most recognizable brands in the world. In 2018, Helm was acquired by Banyan Technologies Group.

“We are very excited to partner with the Barton School on this unique, innovative and powerful project,” said Tanvir Arfi, Chairman and CEO of Banyan Technologies Group, member of the Barton School’s Dean’s Advisory Board and WSU alumnus. “I have seen firsthand the quality of the faculty, staff and students at the Barton School. Working together on this important research will be mutually beneficial and our team is looking forward to getting started.”