The Big Data Panel at Case Western Reserve University Homecoming, 10/9/15
Last week was Homecoming at my graduate school alma mater, Case Western Reserve University. The Weatherhead School of Management provided a full day of events — it was like being a student again, only with better food.
The main draw for me was a panel on big data and analytics. Weatherhead alumni provided insights on how they’ve used data analytics in their careers, and faculty provided a preview of the new MSM Analytics degree. A couple of my takeaways:
It’s time to get your hands dirty.
Analytics programs, which are relatively new, are more likely to cover the data wrangling problem. The biggest downside of my business education is it never taught me how to deal with messy, unformatted, inconsistent data. This is a key challenge in data analytics, and the new MSM program will address it directly.
Shotgunning is dead.
Campaigns in the past were a numbers game — blanket your message and hope for the best. This went from marketing (Super Bowl ads, mass mailing, etc.) to job hunting (the resume ether, job fairs, etc.). This approach will not work in the age of data. People have too many things grabbing at their attention, and competitors can gain advantage through a targeted approach.
Big data is big detail. Good analysts can use this detail to drive decisions. With solid training in statistics, business, and computer modelling, the MSM program looks to provide a base for this decision-making.
I applaud Weatherhead for launching this program — as an analyst with a few years of experience, I know how crucial this skill set is to success in business today. If I’m interviewing, it will get my attention!