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Tag: Online Learning (page 1 of 12)

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: User-Centered Design

Faculty: Amy Deschenes

Program: User-Centered Design

Course: RUCD 140 Research Methods

Education: Simmons University, MLIS

Bio: Amy Deschenes is a leader in UX and digital accessibility in higher education. She is currently the Head of UX & Digital Accessibility at Harvard Library where she works with librarians and archivists on digital projects. In 2015 she led the establishment of the User Research Center, Harvard’s only usability and digital accessibility lab. She speaks about her work on a regular basis and has presented at conferences like Ladies That UX & UXPA. In addition to Research Methods, she also teaches RUCD 175 Universal Design & Digital Accessibility. You can see examples of her work on https://amydeschenes.com/.

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

This course gives you the opportunity to get real hands-on experience with a variety of UX research methods. You get to apply these concepts to a real research question or design problem of your choosing. It introduces you to key qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, including surveys, interviews, and usability testing. You also get to practice aspects of project management through your coursework. Even if you’re not intending to be a researcher full-time, this course will give you insight into why research is so important to user-centered design.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course?

This class is fun because students get to select their own research topics and I learn about subject areas outside of my own expertise through their work. In the past students have completed projects about how the pandemic impacted exercise preferences, preferences around video game player styles, and how pet owners find help online. I love being able to lead students through the process of applying the research methods in a real-world context.

For more information on the User-Centered Design 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

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 

Q&A with Aline Yurik Program Chair for Software Engineering

Dr. Aline Yurik serves as the Program Chair of the Software Engineering degree program at Brandeis GPS!

In addition to her role as Program Chair, Aline works as the Director of Software Engineering at Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts. Aline holds a PhD in Computer Science, Master of Arts in Computer Science, Master of Science in Information Technology and Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, all from Brandeis University – Go Judges!

Read on to learn about Aline’s career path, her excitement about Internet-of-Things (IoT) and how to leverage course projects for your software industry job search:

Q: Can you tell us about your career path and what led you to the professional position that you are in today?
A: After completing my PhD in Computer Science from Brandeis University, I pursued a career in the software and IT industry, as I wanted to apply what I had learned to real-life software systems. Starting out as a software engineer, I enjoyed the process of creating software to address the needs of people and organizations. I became interested in software design and architecture, as a way to create software systems that scale well and are adaptable to new capabilities. Over time, I have had solution architect roles, as well as progressive technical management roles.

On the management track, I started out as a technical team leader, and progressed to a development manager and currently an IT director role, leading a software implementation and quality assurance team.

In parallel with my software industry work, I have pursued my passion for teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Brandeis GPS. I have taught a variety of software engineering courses since the start of the Master of Software Engineering (MSE) in 1997. In my role as Program Chair, I work on program curriculum, ensuring that the MSE courses reflect the latest best practices and technology achievements in the software industry and prepare MSE graduates for a successful career in the software engineering field.

Q: What is an emerging trend in the software engineering field that is exciting you?
A: Internet-of-Things (IoT) is bringing a new revolution to everyday devices and objects in our world. It is powering the concept of smart cities, with technology optimizing traffic and helping manage infrastructure and buildings. IoT will be changing how we live in our homes with smart appliances, smart security systems, and virtual reality/augmented reality-enabled entertainment, gaming and educational options.

IoT is opening new opportunities for medical, healthcare and fitness fields, with new medical devices that can help people better manage chronic diseases, get rehabilitation support and improve their overall fitness. There are a lot of exciting things that IoT will be bringing to our lives!

Q: Do you have any advice for students who are planning a job search in the software engineering space?
A: I recommend to use the software projects you have worked on in your courses as your portfolio that you can showcase with the potential employers. Think about design, architecture, technology and process decisions you have made in these projects and create an overview that highlights important decisions and lessons learned from these software projects. Also, be open-minded about applying to a variety of roles, as there are many opportunities in the software field that span all phases of a software development lifecycle. You may discover that your prior experiences and interests make you a perfect fit for a role you may not have considered!

Q: What is a fun fact about you that students may not already know?
A: I started tap dancing several years ago, and have been enjoying it tremendously! Tapping is both a fun physical activity and also a mental challenge as we are making rhythm and sound with our feet. Learning and practicing a new dance choreography is something I look forward to every week!

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

Faculty Spotlight: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Faculty: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Program: User-Centered Design

Course: RUCD 190 Capstone

Awards: Usability Professionals Association: Lifetime Achievement Award 2009

Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SM and Goddard College, B.A.

Bio: Elizabeth Rosenzweig is a design researcher whose mission is to use technology to make the world a better place. She believes that the best design comes from good research. This all starts with a user-centered design. From volunteer events, design challenges, and research projects. Elizabeth has been able to push the bounds of the current status quo and innovate. Examples include founding running World Usability Day, producing 4 Patents on intelligent design for image management and organizations, long-term impact on Medicare.gov, yearlong study on body-worn cameras, and other projects. Rosenzweig’s work can be seen at designresearchforgood.org

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

The Capstone course brings together all the skills and knowledge the UCD student has obtained from the UCD program. The Capstone allows them to apply these skills to a project of their choosing, perhaps one they have been thinking of for a while, or a brand new idea. This class is a wonderful opportunity to create a strong portfolio piece that they can use when they interview for a job.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course?

 I enjoy engaging with the students as they give birth, grow and refine their ideas. Since this is often one of the last classes, the UCD students come into the class with strong skills. The journey from the inception of their idea to a fully designed clickable prototype in one term is amazing.

Anything else you would like to share with a prospective student?

The final presentation is the best part because it provides the student with experience of presenting their original project to the UCD Advisory Board, who then provides support, mentorship, and invaluable feedback on the work.  The Advisory Board is a strong network of seasoned UCD professionals that helps build a strong network for the UCD student.

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

Faculty Spotlight: Sean Milligan

Faculty: Sean Milligan

Program: Project and Program Management

Course: RPJM 119 The Human Side of Project Leadership

Awards: 2019 Outstanding Teacher Award, RABB School of Continuing Studies

Education: Brandeis University, M.S.

Bio: Sean J. Milligan, MS, has over twenty-five years of experience in managing enterprise projects and resources in a number of industries. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a member of the South Florida chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI) He is currently the Global Director of Professional Services for a company specializing in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions for for the food and beverage manufacturing industry, and resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sean received his M.S. in Project and Program Management from Brandeis in November of 2014, and is also a certified Myers-Briggs Practitioner.

Sean specializes in leadership throughout the personal, team, and organizational layers of Project Management and service delivery, as well as the human dynamics inherent in a collaborative approach to meeting demands of stakeholders and organizations. While Project Management has evolved from a scientifically driven approach to a people-focused mindset as a result of a shift in human factors, Sean’s focus on these factors brings a more holistic approach to leading teams and projects.

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

Project Management has evolved over the years and requires much more than the science of project plans, risks, issues, etc. Project Managers must now become people leaders and incorporate the art of leading without a direct line of authority.  The Human Side of Project Leadership course gives students valuable insight into the human and team dynamics that make for successful projects and happy stakeholders.  Adding this layer of insight enables Project Managers to achieve the valuable balance between project objectives and people objectives.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course?

I enjoy teaching the Human Side of Project Leadership course because of the fantastic “a-ha” moments that I get to witness throughout the course.  The course strikes a balance between individual introspection and observance of others in specific scenarios that create a valuable awareness of how individuals and teams operate, and because students are participating in team assignments, they get to see these real-life scenarios play out before them.  Students learn so much about themselves as leaders that it easily translates into how they view and lead others, which is fun to see.

Anything else you would like to share with a prospective student?

Get ready to interact with and learn a LOT about your fellow students in this course!

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

 

Faculty Spotlight: Khadijia Khartit

Faculty: Khadija Khartit

Program: Digital Innovation for FinTech

Course: RDFT 130 Launching FinTech Ventures 

Expertise: Banking, Corporate Finance, Credit Cards, Cryptocurrency, Financial Planning, FinTech, General Business, Investing, Personal Finance

Education: Oklahoma State University, MBA and Boston College, MS

Bio: Khadija Khartit has 25 years of experience in management, investment banking, and startup advisory. Her investing and business background includes management in operating multinationals, investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt capital raising, and tech startups’ advisory. Khadija worked on the fund-raising process as an advisor, an investor, and an entrepreneur. She worked on deals ranging from $100,000 to $500 million and on company sizes from green-field business plans to companies with $1 billion revenues and $100 million net income. Khadija is currently an executive advisor of KoreFusion, a global strategy consulting firm specialized in FinTech and payments. She is also the head of strategy at Sawi Exchange, a B2B FinTech based in Boston.

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

In this course we tear down prominent cases in FinTech that are just getting bigger over the years (Stripe, Aunt Group, Bkash…). We link them to other cases rising and the changing landscape. Students learn from the real-world real-time moves of companies and what that means to be an effective worker, manager, intrapreneur, or entrepreneur. 

Why do you enjoy teaching this course? 

I find a safe space to think boldly, research with high vigor elements and arguments to enrich the discussion with students. My students are bright and as much as I inspire them to elevate the bar in their preparation to add to what their peers said, they also inspire me. We all set high standards to serve each other intellectually, and we grow together.

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

 

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