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Tag: Brandeis GPS Programs (page 1 of 7)

Alumni Spotlight: Gaston Tchicourel

Program: Digital Innovation for FinTech

Graduation Year: 2020

Current Position: Information Technology Advisor at World Bank Group

Gastón came into the Digital Innovation for FinTech degree program with a strong background in both software development and technology consulting and management.

Q: What were your most valuable takeaways from the Digital Innovation for FinTech degree?
A: There were many reasons for why I enrolled in the Digital Innovation for FinTech degree program; however, I would say the main reason was to keep myself up-to-date with the current trends in the business. I have spent the majority of my professional career working on the technology side of the banking and financial services industries, so this program was an obvious choice toward that goal. And it definitely served that purpose. Not only did the degree serve as a refresher of both financial and technical concepts, but it also covered many other topics that span from regulatory frameworks to the future of finance.

Q: What was your favorite course from the Digital Innovation for FinTech degree?
A: There were many interesting courses throughout the program. It is difficult to choose just one so I will highlight a few favorites:

RDFT 130: Launching FinTech Ventures
In this course we covered and analyzed some of the best and most prominent business cases and success stories in the FinTech field. This is key knowledge for anyone looking to become an entrepreneur.

RDFT 160: Python Programming
As a software developer turned technology consultant and manager, taking this course felt like a break in my routine, like being a kid playing with Legos again! I can acknowledge that this is not the same for everyone.

Q: Do you have any advice for students currently working toward completing the FinTech degree?
A: Having completed the program, the best advice I can offer for current students is as follows:

Be curious: Don’t focus on just passing the courses. Read beyond the class requirements. Do your research online. Learn about success stories beyond the ones covered during the weekly sessions.

Build your network: Engage with your classmates and instructors. Attend industry events, both online and in-person. Stay connected on LinkedIn.

Stay sharp and stay involved: FinTech is moving much faster than other traditional industries. You have to be quick and flexible to surf this wave. Focus on data, learn about different DLTs and Blockchain technologies and crypto assets. This is the future of finance.

Q: What are your best hopes for your career in the future?
A: I’m hoping to get much more into crypto and, from a professional career perspective, complete my transition into the FinTech start-up space soon. I am hoping to jumpstart my own FinTech endeavor next…I’m working on a few ideas that I actually first thought about during the FinTech degree program. These ideas served as the core tenents of my capstone project.

Faculty Spotlight: Digital Innovation for FinTech

Faculty: Mike Storiale

Program: Digital Innovation for FinTech

Course: RDFT 101 The New Economy: Global Disruption and the Emergence of FinTech

Education: University of Hartford, M.B.A.

Bio: Mike Storiale is AVP, Innovation Development for Synchrony, the largest provider of private label and co-brand credit cards in the country. At Synchrony, Mike focuses on building the future of technology for their clients and cardholders. Prior to Synchrony, Mike was VP, Digital Banking Manager for Guilford Savings Bank in CT where he developed, implemented and managed all customer-facing technology. His responsibilities spanned the Bank’s digital properties, including online and mobile banking, digital acquisition channels, the corporate Website, voice response unit and the call center. Mike received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Hartford, and his undergraduate degree in Business with a concentration in International Business and Marketing from Wagner College in New York.

Why is this course important or valuable to a FinTech student?

This course will give FinTech students a robust understanding of traditional banking and finance, as well as the major events that got us here. We pair that with exploration of the emerging and disruptive environments, bringing it all together to help students learn how to build competitive FinTech product strategies.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course? 

This course changes every year, and the environment of FinTech is evolving so quickly that students are often learning things that are happening in real time.

Anything else you would like to share with a student interested in enrolling in the course?

This course will help you learn how to think strategically about building new products, and is an exciting way to grow in the FinTech industry.

For more information on the Digital Innovation for FinTech or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Faculty Spotlight: Strategic Analytics

Faculty: Travis Dawry

Program: Strategic Analytics MS

Course: RSAN 150 Data Quality and Governance

Education: Brandeis University, M.S.

Bio: Travis earned a B.A. in Political Science with a focus on International Relations and Comparative Politics from the University of Central Florida in 2009. Since then he has worked in a variety of government organizations, most recently as a Library Specialist for Broward County, located in in South Florida. His language of choice for analytics, and everything else, is R. Travis earned a Master of Science in Strategic Analytics from Brandeis University in the Spring of 2016 and is now an instructor at the Brandeis Rabb School. He currently splits his time between South Florida and Christiansburg, Virginia, where he lives with a veterinarian and a bunch of cats.

About the course-

In RSAN 150 Data Quality and Governance we focus on understanding what data is, how it is used, what it represents, and how it is managed in organizations. This is one of my favorite courses to teach because students from diverse backgrounds each bring a different perspective on the challenges and opportunities presented by the underlying topics. Agnostic of industry, if someone works with data, we explore how their role works within a larger strategy.

 

For more information on the Strategic Analytics MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Improving Technical Knowledge to Make Better Decisions Under Uncertainty.

In 2018, I co-founded AccuTennis, a computer vision company, with two electrical engineers. This endeavor is the most technically complex in my career. My experiences writing software and managing product development included a situation at a prior company where I made a very expensive mistake by directing the engineering team to develop an application, which made business sense. An enterprise customer demanded a solution and the engineering team’s primary objection was one of understanding the ROI. I made the case that this enterprise customer would renew its contract and we could upsell this service to our other enterprise customers. However, we ended up delivering a poorly performing solution because of some technical limitations that I should have uncovered during our debate over what to work on. Had I been better informed, I would have been able to ask the right questions to uncover some important technical debt, which inhibited the success of this project.

For my current venture, I needed to better understand the technical foundations of the products so I could make better decisions as CEO. Brandeis was one of the first places I looked for continuing education because I found the two other degrees that I earned there to be valuable (the university offers everything – I also met my wife at Brandeis!).

In general, a tech startup has three technical challenges: the underlying tech, its user experience, and measurement. The underlying tech is the most important and least appreciated because the core tech is often hidden behind the product’s user interface. In our case, we utilize raspberry pi-based hardware to track people and tennis balls in real time with a low margin of error. On top of this core technology are two user interfaces: (1) a TV screen that displays a player’s output in real time, and (2) a mobile app that allows users to authenticate themselves and select what games to play. Our system automatically generates reports that detail what each user (i.e. admin, coach, and player) does. When we implement any change, I filter the work through a user experience focus, which boils down to “does this allow AccuTennis to easily deliver real-time feedback that is useful better or worse?”. Any other consideration is a distance second. 

If we succeed in the above, we have a chance at growing our customer base, and if we do not, we will go out of business. We are a startup with limited funding an do not have many chances to recover from a major miscalculation on what we develop. This brings home the need to understand how the technical challenges relate to our business objectives. 

I found the curriculum within the Masters of Software Engineering, particularly the capstone class, useful in tying together (1) gathering business and technical requirements, (2) understanding stakeholders, and (3) building & delivering technology. Also, some engineers that I worked with in previous roles were snobs about only listening to people with Computer Science and Software Engineering degrees, so now they will.

Written by: Adam Sher

Software Engineering MS, class of 2021

Faculty Spotlight: Digital Marketing and Design

Faculty: Garrett Gillin, MBA

Program: Digital Marketing and Design MS

Course: RDMD 135 Conversion Rate Optimization

Education: Drexel University, MBA

Bio: Garrett Gillin, MBA, is a Co-founder and Principal at 215 Marketing, a 2020 INC 5000 company and Google Premier Partner agency, located in Philadelphia, PA, where he oversees the development and execution of integrated digital marketing initiatives with a concentration on programmatic advertising, marketing automation, and advanced analytics.

Why is this course important or valuable to a Digital Marketing and Design student?

Oftentimes in marketing and design we are so focused on the tactics, that we lose focus of the bigger picture. The CRO course helps students take a step back and look at the full customer journey and identify ways to grow a business through small, incremental improvements at various touch points.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course? 

When I developed this course in collaboration with the department chair, Steve Dupree, we wanted to create something that was relevant and actionable to all businesses regardless of type and size. My favorite part of teaching this course is that students often can use what they learn immediately in their day-to-day jobs and develop a more holistic view of marketing and design that they can apply throughout their careers.

Anything else you would like to share with a student interested in enrolling in the course? 

This course may be a bit different from other courses you have taken. We use your current place-of-work (or a business you are looking to start) as the basis of each week’s assignment, so you can directly apply the learning to the company and industry you work in. Students have found this approach to feel more organic and actionable, while making the content more relatable.

 

For more information on the Digital Marketing and Design MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Q&A with the Chair of Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate

Bio: Arnold Kamis is an Associate Professor of Data Analytics at Brandeis International Business School and Chair of the Brandeis Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate. He does research with data analytics on information technology, decision support, online consumer behavior, and healthcare information. He has many publications in premiere journals, including MIS Quarterly, Decision Support Systems, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, and Communications of the ACM. He blends social science and data science to make research contributions that are rigorous, business-relevant, and aiming to make an impact. For example, Arnold and coauthors have developed a stable three-year model of CDC data (n = 1.5M) to model why American adults do not obtain influenza vaccinations. He has designed and taught multiple courses in business/data analytics and data visualization. Arnold has served on many journal editorial boards, including Decision Analytics and Health Systems. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University.

 

What do you expect students will walk away from this certificate able to accomplish/achieve? / What will this certificate enable them to do?

I expect that students will walk away with a detailed understanding of healthcare data and the varied approaches to the different types of data reporting, data quality, and risk management. They will learn the lifecycle of healthcare data analytics, from problem identification to data analysis, culminating in effective communication of results with dashboards and other tools. They will be able to think about, visualize, analyze, and communicate patterns and relationships found in clinical and/or financial healthcare data. 

 

How will the skills students learn in this program help them make an impact in their organizations? In what ways will these skills help them support/influence decision-making across their organizations?

The students with this certificate under their belt will be in a position to provide accurate, consistent, and reliable information to decision makers in their organization. By removing barriers to data acquisition, analytics, and reporting, the alumni will support and enhance their organizational processes. They will influence operational, tactical, and strategic uses of integrated information and analytics. All of this will drive evidence-based organizational improvements. 

 

What is most exciting to you about this certificate program? Why do you think it is timely? Why is it of value now and in the future to employers?

I am excited because this new certificate will give students a solid knowledge base and skillset to advance their careers. This will be valuable by itself, but can also be a stepping stone toward their MBA degree. It is timely because healthcare organizations are investing increasingly in data analytics to cope with their data overload. They need skilled professionals to extract value from data and improve their evidence-based decision making. The demand for analytics professionals is growing.

 

Brandeis Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate is a collaboration between Brandeis GPS and Brandeis International Business School. 

Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate

As Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement for Brandeis GPS, I am constantly thinking about the growth of our programs to support our students and our corporate and community partners. 

I was recently asked how best to describe what we do as the Partnership Engagement team at Brandeis GPS. 

The short response is that we create mutually beneficial partnerships between Brandeis GPS and organizations in the public and private sector. We work with our partners to put out quality educational and professional development programs. In this way, we support innovation, employee growth and development, and community engagement. 

These statements are true, but they fall short of fully  describing how we engage with our partnerships – both with our corporate and community partners, as well as with our collaborators from other parts of the Brandeis campus.

 What we really aim to do in partnership engagement is form lasting, meaningful, trusting relationships with the people who make up our partner organizations. We aim to be the folks they know they can pick up the phone and problem-solve with when they see a pressing employee need in their organization or among the members of their professional association.

GPS was born out of a partnership with a local company who wanted to offer rigorous, professional education to their employees, as well as the career-enhancing opportunity to gain a master’s degree. When that company’s leadership turned to Brandeis and asked us to develop the first Graduate Professional Studies master’s degree, GPS was born.

Now, years later, we have heeded the call from another valued partner, this time a major Boston hospital. We listened to our partner, who helped us understand their employees’ need for technical skills deeply embedded in the healthcare industry. We reached across campus to collaborate with Brandeis International Business School and created a Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate, exclusively for working professionals in the healthcare industry.

Not only will the program help students master today’s essential analytics skills, including programming languages like Python and R, and  data visualization tools like Tableau, the Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate will give students the knowledge, skills and confidence to perform quality data analysis, create effective visualizations, and confidently communicate their insights to key stakeholders at their organization. In this way, while this Master’s Certificate is technical training, it also prepares students for making an impact through high-quality, data-driven decisions.

This program is especially exciting for us because it was born out of two collaborations: with our healthcare industry partner (a major Boston hospital) and with Brandeis International Business School.

The certificate comprises a meaningful standalone credential that will contribute to your career in healthcare. At the same time, if you decide you want to continue on to complete a full master’s degree, the credits you earn are transferable to Brandeis degrees.

Credits you earn from the Healthcare Analytics certificate can be applied to the following graduate programs at Brandeis University:

The full benefit of this program, as always, includes the knowledgeable, attentive faculty, GPS student services support, and the flexibility of being fully online.

Written by: Michaela Henry, PhD, Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement

 

Brandeis Healthcare Analytics Master’s Certificate is a collaboration between Brandeis GPS and Brandeis International Business School. To learn more about Brandeis GPS Corporate Partnerships, email: partnerships@brandeis.edu 

Why I Chose Brandeis GPS

We know that pursuing a master’s degree can be overwhelming, particularly for students who work full-time and are already balancing professional and personal commitments. We also know that every student has a unique reason that drives him or her to return to school and complete their degree.

 Hi, I’m Zanefa Walsh, a Brandeis GPS alum. I’m usually a private person but decided to share my why for pursuing the MS in Digital Marketing and Design because little did I know that the decision would be a stepping stone to where I am today: a digital communications and social cohesion consultant.

The fully online program, which consists of courses such as digital marketing strategy, writing for digital environments, and multichannel marketing campaigns, appealed to me during a time when I wanted to expand my knowledge to better meet the increasing marketing needs of my employer, which at the time was Brandeis. As soon as I learned that employees received 100% tuition remission, I started to explore courses even though I worried that adjusting to online learning would be challenging. I was delighted to learn that GPS offers the opportunity to take up to two courses before deciding to apply to a graduate program. After taking the two courses, I felt invigorated by the high-quality instruction and collaborative environment, that I applied.

I already had a master’s degree from another school, but the second time around as a graduate student differed from my first experience. I was now a mother, married, and working full-time. Finding ways to balance these conflicting responsibilities was essential. Yes, there were times when stress levels were high,  but it was my discipline, an invaluable support system, and effective time management that got me through the three-year journey. 

While expanding my knowledge was a major reason why I pursued this degree, deep down, it was so much more. My why was to prove to myself, and possibly other women of color, that taking on new opportunities and challenges leads to growth, whether you succeed or fail. No one else is as invested in your personal and professional growth as you. A year after completing the degree, I grew so much so that I had the confidence and determination to start my own consulting business in 2019.

With the knowledge gained from my GPS courses, along with over 15 years of work experience in the digital space, I now know what it takes to successfully conceive, produce, and execute a diverse range of data-driven multichannel marketing and communication strategies that build awareness, drive engagement, and foster a sense of belonging/community. Without a doubt, my decision to pursue a graduate degree at Brandeis GPS had an immediate and life-changing impact on my life.  

For more information on the Digital Marketing and Design program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Brandeis University appoints data expert Mark Coleman as Strategic Analytics program chair

 

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies has appointed Mark Coleman, Director of Business Analytics at Carbonite, as its new chair of the Strategic Analytics program.

In his role at Carbonite, Mark leads a multi-disciplinary team of data scientists, analysts, and data engineers that provide data-driven insight, analytical reporting services, and predictive modeling to all core functions across the company.

As program chair, Mark is responsible for ensuring that all Strategic Analytics courses adhere to the university’s high quality standards and that the program’s goals and outcomes remain current and relevant. His deep experience and knowledge of analytics as well the latest industry trends will help translate new in-demand skills into curriculum development. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the Strategic Analytics Program at Brandeis,” said Mark. “Analytics and data science have emerged as transformative technologies, driving innovation and disruptions to virtually every industry across the globe. As Program Chair, my role is to both thoughtfully champion the importance of analytics and data-driven thinking, and to ensure our program gives our students the critical intellectual and technical foundations to succeed in their analytics careers.”

Mark’s robust experience in data science and analytics includes senior analytical management and data science positions at Warner Brothers, The Hartford and Liberty Mutual. He also founded and served as CEO of a successful analytics consulting and forecasting practice for the institutional investment community, and is a regular speaker at analytics industry forums.

Mark has an MA in Economics from Boston College, and BAs in Applied Mathematics and Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

 

Meet the newest GPS faculty members

Our July session is just around the corner, and we are excited to welcome the newest faculty members to Brandeis University. These industry leaders come to Brandeis GPS with expertise and established networks within their fields. We have no doubt that the knowledge and experience they bring will provide for meaningful learning opportunities in their online classrooms.

Michelle Venezia: Foundations of Project Management

Michelle Venezia is the Director of the Information System Division’s Project Portfolio Office at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She has 20+ years of global experience in business development and project management, spanning the  IT, healthcare, medical device and defense industries. She received an MBA from Pennsylvania State University, a BS in Industrial Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP), and Portfolio Management Professional (PIMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Learn more about Foundations of Project Management here.

Timothy Song: Bioinformatics Scripting and Databases with Python

Timothy Song, MS, is a bioinformatics engineer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He works on creating tools for the cancer informatics pipeline and aiding oncologists in their research. His prior work includes analyzing Influenza viral diversity in human populations from next generation sequencing data. Learn more about Bioinformatics Scripting and Databases with Python here.

David Swiniarski: Perspectives on Information Technology

David Swiniarski, MBA, is a Managing Consultant with Norima Consulting where he leads strategic information technology programs and projects for clients in alignment with their firm’s business strategy. Leveraging his business architecture skills, he has successfully delivered programs and projects related to the strategic competencies of IT governance, transformation, risk management and regulatory compliance in the Financial Services industry. He received a MBA from Suffolk University. Learn more about Perspectives on Information Technology here.

Robert Lipscomb: Agile Software Development

Robert “Kirk” Lipscomb is a Technology Manager with 40 years of experience in software development. Currently API Development Manager for Fiserv, a major FinTech company, Kirk has owned a software consulting firm and has managed development teams in a variety of industries. He has a strong track record of successful agile transformations, even in industries like defense contracting where he managed a team supporting military operations on-site in Baghdad, Iraq. Kirk has a BS in Computer Science from Texas A&M and an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Colorado. Learn more about Agile Software Development here.

Sarah Pagliacio: User Experience Design

Sarah Pagliacio, MA, ALM, is the Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at Black Pepper, a digital strategy consultancy that provides customer research, user experience design, and usability testing services. Sarah leads a team that delivers award-winning large-scale content-managed websites and complex mobile and desktop web apps for higher education, financial services, not-for-profit, and healthcare organizations. Her research interests include artificial intelligence and machine learning in Shakespeare and the user-centered design process. She received her BA and MA in psychology from Boston University and an ALM in English Literature from Harvard Extension School. Learn more about User Experience Design here.

Daniel Pineo: Machine Learning

Dr. Daniel Pineo has over 15 years of broad expertise developing advanced machine learning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence algorithms. He specializes in developing robust, high-performance algorithms for bespoke hardware platforms. He works as Director of Algorithm Development for L3 Technologies, and prior to that was Senior Principal Research Engineer for BAE Systems. Learn more about Machine Learning here.

Dragan Grigorjev: Risk Management in Projects and Programs

Dragan Grigorjev, MBA, PMP, CSM, is a Senior Technical Program Manager in Information Technology Services Industry. He leads all aspects of program management for strategic initiatives that transform the global enterprise business systems. His responsibilities include establishing best practices, governance frameworks, PMO standards, procedures, and quality objectives including metrics and KPls for assessing progress of strategic technology programs. Learn more about Risk Management in Project and Programs here.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.

 

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