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Tag: MS in Strategic Analytics (page 1 of 2)

The Most Important Skill for Data Professionals Is…

As Chair of the Strategic Analytics Program at Brandeis’ Graduate Professional School, I spend a lot of time thinking about our curriculum. Is it relevant? Is it serving the needs of our students in the highly competitive and rapidly evolving fields of business data analytics and data science? What’s the right mix of case studies, programming, project management, and mathematical skills to help our students succeed? Which sets of software tools and platforms should we adopt? What are the overarching learning outcomes we strive to achieve?

All of these topics also come up regularly in conversations with many different stakeholders: faculty, school administration, curriculum designers, and of course, our students and prospective students. In many of these conversations - especially the ones with students - I’m invariably asked some form of the question “what skills are most important for a successful data analytics career”? Not surprisingly, in my professional life - where I lead analytics teams and am a practicing data scientist - I’m frequently asked the same question, especially by job applicants and professionals just starting their data careers.

Usually the conversations steer towards ranking the technical skills that data pros are known for - writing dazzling computer code in any or all popular languages, producing deep statistical analysis, creating compelling visualizations and dashboards, adroitly wrangling even the messiest data, and building cutting-edge machine learning models.

To be sure, all of these competencies are important. Most successful data professionals are highly skilled in at least one of these areas. And if you’ve a savant in one of these specialties, it’s rocket fuel for your career.

So which one matters the most? What’s the secret data sauce? The short answer is: none of the above.

Before I explain in greater detail, let’s take a detour.

What’s the difference between a good cook and a great chef? Both have a passion for cooking, both understand enough of the science and chemistry behind cooking to avoid kitchen disasters, and both have solid technical kitchen skills. A good cook opens a refrigerator, sees ingredients, follows a recipe, and can competently assemble those ingredients into a pleasing dish. A great chef will open that same refrigerator, see those same ingredients, and understand the sublime culinary possibilities in even the simplest set of ingredients. A great chef understands flavors and how ingredients connect with one another to bring their vision of an incredible dish to life.

So what does this have to do with data analytics? A good data analyst is competent with key technical tools, can query, transform, and explore data, identify an appropriate statistical or machine learning model, and –with a bit of care - assemble all of these “raw ingredients” into an analytical solution that will probably meet their stakeholders’ expectations.

But a great data analyst/data scientist - like a great chef - sees a business problem and can harness their experience to develop a deep intuition around how to recognize, formulate, and execute on analytical solutions. They routinely connect the dots between the fundamental characteristics, nuances, behaviors, and economics of their domain. They understand how to create effective analytical strategies for solving these problems using the models and methods of modern data analytics.

The technical tools and software skills are a means to an end, not the end itself. The best analytics professionals are the ones that see this bigger picture and can repeatedly demonstrate a deep understanding of how to identify and cultivate business value using the ever-improving portfolio of data analytics tools.

As your career progresses, this “softer” skill will become increasingly important. You will probably find yourself transitioning from the purely technical mindset that most of us - including me - start our careers with to a more creative or strategic mindset. This is true, even in a field like analytics, which is deeply tethered to mathematics and computer science.

The hardest and most rewarding business challenges for data professionals rely on your ability to intuitively recognize valuable business problems that can be addressed by analytical and data-driven solutions. The “what” is almost always more important than the “how”.

Written by: Mark Coleman, MA, Program Chair of Strategic Analytics 

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

Faculty Spotlight: Annie Shebanow

What led you to the business and technology fields? Growing up, I loved science technology, and I was fascinated by computers. After finishing high school in Iran, I immigrated to the United States to attend U.C. Berkeley’s Computer Science program. I wanted to be at the forefront of inventing new technologies that could help every person and connect them together like never before. 

After I graduated college, I worked for different Silicon Valley tech companies. As my career progressed, I wanted to do something beyond working for large companies. I wanted to focus on specific areas that I was deeply passionate about, one being agriculture. 

Over time, I started multiple companies, each using some form of computer technology and software to solve problems. Each endeavor was as exciting as the one before it. It wasn’t long before I realized that I loved entrepreneurship. I loved that I could blend my love for business and technology together and see it succeed. 

My hope is others can fall in love with the two like I have. It’s really something else!

What industry trend is currently exciting you? I’m immensely excited by the space industry. We are seeing a space race amongst private companies all the while countries like the United States and China are working to send people back to the moon. NASA’s James Webb Telescope left me in awe by how far it could peer into the cosmos, and I remain on the edge of my seat by what it could potentially discover about life on other planets. I cannot wait for what is to come in space discovery over the next two decades. 

What are your best hopes for Strategic Analytics students who take your courses? My hope is that all my students leave my class wanting to be lifelong learners in this field. Strategic analytics is such an exciting journey. We can sift through enormous amounts of data and information in ways that can solve the world’s biggest problems. This is a lifelong exploration that you can never stop learning from, and my hope is my class helps in this adventure.

What is a fun fact that the Brandeis GPS community may not know about you? Hmm… a couple fun facts: 

  • I love Ted Talk videos! My YouTube suggestions are filled with various talks and I often find myself watching multiple videos a week.
  • My first name is Anna but somewhere somehow in my legal documents it got switched to Annie. Someday it will switch back.
  • I’ve grown deeply passionate about global warming issues and its impact on agriculture. I’m now exploring ways data analytics can help coffee bean research and production!
  • I have a small cat that frequently interrupts my Zoom calls.

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

Faculty Spotlight: Keishalee Shaw

Meet Keishalee Shaw

Program: Strategic Analytics

Spring Course: Business Intelligence, Analytics and Decision Making

Bio: Keishalee Shaw, MS, MSc, MA has over ten years in the healthcare field. Currently, she is a Business Information Architect in the health insurance field working on projects around enterprise Integration strategies, enterprise target state along with focusing on data governance from an initiative perspective. Previously, Keishalee worked for New York State’s Bureau of Medicaid Statistics and Program Analysis and the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy.

She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Literature with a minor in Political Science from the University of Maryland College Park; a Master’s of Science in Healthcare Administration Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus; a Masters in International Healthcare Management, Economics and Policy from Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy; a Masters in Strategic Analytics from Brandeis University and a Certificate in Public Sector Management from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Albany, New York.

Why is this course important or valuable to a Strategic Analytics student?

When it comes to decision making, data and analytics leaders play a big role in creating the organization’s strategic objectives. Today business leaders must treat data and analytics as a business asset. Through understanding your organization’s data you’re able to accelerate a company’s growth, pivot and change direction that best fits the organization’s needs and build/develop/or partner with 3rd parties that push your organization to deliver consistent business value.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course?

I love teaching this course because I can see the growth in the students’ understanding when it comes to BI and importance in the role they currently hold in their organizations or how they’d like to apply what they are learning to the projects they are working on. It’s amazing to see when things start to click, or when a student is able to identify what they study in class and bring it back to the workplace.

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

The market’s appetite for tools that help companies visualize and interpret data is not slowing down. Teams that have a strong data-driven culture will continue to use business intelligence to integrate artificial intelligence and business analytics. Gartner says, “the analytics and business intelligence platform market is predicted to double in size by 2025 to $33 billion and will experience double-digit growth and a 16% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through that time” (Quinn, 2022). Making sense of your organization’s data to provide insight will always be vital

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

References: Quinn, e. (2022, February 10). Analytics and Business Intelligence Vendors Are Acquiring Augmented Analytics Vendors. Retrieved from Gartner.com: https://www.gartner.com/document/4011253?ref=solrAll&refval=316488282

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

 

Portrait of Adam Burkin.Student Spotlight

Adam Burkin ‘21

Houston, Texas

Markets Reporter/ICIS; Principal/Burkin Analytics

Program: MS in Strategic Analytics

In his spare time, Adam enjoys reading, networking, working on a non-profit, dining with friends, walking my dog, going to concerts, and working out (rowing/weight lifting).

Get to know Adam Burkin! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

The Strategic Analytics program curriculum offered much potential for both my career and personal knowledge ambitions.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I have worked as an analyst/consultant for most of my career, so I wanted to further my education as it aligned to increasing demands around data analytics in a largely business analytics framework.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

The experience has been very rewarding in terms of the course instructors’ guidance and material presented. Oftentimes instructors were able to establish valuable connections between topics discussed and how they fit into today’s business environment.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I hope to learn as much as I can within the scope of the remaining course materials, but more importantly offer something of value back to the program if possible.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to apply much of what I have learned in a professional capacity, in addition to analytics freelancing and my non-profit dedicated to analytics education.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Learn to organize one’s schedule with already established personal commitments as better time management is both a critical part of the program and one of the byproducts of the experience, to which I can definitely attest. Also, explore taking courses that do not completely align to one’s expectations in the program as these are the classes that will help expand one’s purview of the program altogether.

What has been your favorite class to-date?

So hard to choose as really all of them were great to participate in, though I did enjoy the predictive analytics and machine learning course as it was highly applicable to my career.

Student Spotlight on William J. Hiraldo

Meet this week’s student spotlight – William J. Hiraldo!

William is from Orlando, Florida and is a candidate for a MS in Strategic Analytics. He currently works as a Workday ERP Consultant at Huron Consulting Group, and his professional goals are to “become a Chief Financial Officer for a major corporation”.

Fun facts about William

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Movie Theaters

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Caramel Pecan

If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use that extra hour?

  • I would go shopping

 

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William thrived at Brandeis GPS – and so will you! Learn more today about your area of interest, admissions and registration deadlines, and upcoming events.

Student Spotlight: Brett Stephens

Top 10 data scientist Charles Givre becomes new Strategic Analytics program chair

Headshot of Charles GivreBrandeis GPS is delighted to announce the appointment of Charles Givre, MA, CISSP, as the new chair of our online MS in Strategic Analytics program.

In his role as chair, Charles ensures high course quality and provides the industry insights that keep the program’s goals and outcomes current and relevant. He also recruits and mentors faculty, and advises students on program and course requirements.

Charles is a Vice President and Lead Data Scientist at Deutsche Bank in the Chief Security Office (CSO), where he leads an international team of data scientists working on security challenges. He has a passion for solving difficult problems with data and using data in unique ways to drive business decisions. In fact, Charles was recently named as one of the Top 10 Data Scientists you need to know right now by Enterprise Management 360.

With over 10 years of experience in the intelligence community in various organizations, Charles has a lot to share with the data science community. Charles regularly presents classes and presentations at international conferences including Strata, BlackHat and the Open Data Science Conference. His research interests include adversarial machine learning as well as improving analytic efficiency. He is a committer to the Apache Drill project and has co-authored a book on the topic.

Charles received undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Music from the University of Arizona before getting his MA from Brandeis University. Then, he went on to work at the CIA and Booz Allen Hamilton before starting in his role at Deutsche Bank.

Learn more about the part-time, online Master’s of Science in Strategic Analytics 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.

Brandeis GPS students continue collaboration on statewide MATTERS data project

According to the State Technology and Science Index, Massachusetts is the most high-tech state, with top tier-institutions for higher education producing a highly skilled workforce and innovation economy.

What is MATTERS?

Logo for the MATTERS projectMATTERS™ is the Massachusetts’ Technology, Talent and Economic Reporting System.  MATTERS was created to measure the strength of the technological environment in Massachusetts and compare it to other states. It was developed by faculty and students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) under the guidance of the Massachusetts High Technology Council (MHTC) to compare Massachusetts’ competitive position to it’s 15 peer technology states.

The MATTERS peer states include the 10 “Leading Technology States” from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s annual Innovation Index and the top 5 states in the Milken Institute’s State Tech and Science Index. The MATTERS performance index ranks each state along talent, tax (financial climate), cost of doing business, and quality of life by using a weighted average of key metrics in each data category. The goal is to make Massachusetts the most desirable state to grow a high technology business by using the data from the MATTERS™ project to drive public policy that will enhance the state’s strengths and draw in businesses.

How is Brandeis GPS Involved?

Starting in January 2016, Stephen Gentile, former chair of the MS in Strategic Analytics and a current GPS instructor, created a program for GPS  students to curate MATTERS data. The course is now taught by Travis Dawry, who took over as instructor in fall 2016. In each iteration of the course, students are selected based on a variety of factors including their academic performance, professional experience, and leadership abilities.

The role of the GPS team includes:

  • Developing, documenting, and receiving approval for the scope of work from MHTC project sponsors
  • Evaluating, analyzing, and transmitting MATTERS data from multiple sources
  • Proposing and executing extension projects to enhance MATTERS analytics capabilities
  • Effectively communicating the project’s status, issues, risks, and results to MATTERS stakeholders
  • Creating or enhancing the methodology to maintain the MATTERS system and developing a proposed work plan for the next offering of the course

Since the launch of the program, Brandeis GPS students have:

  • Analyzed the current MATTERS state indices and suggested changes to the metrics and weighting across all four of MATTERS’ index categories
  • Compared Massachusetts infrastructure spending to that of its peer states
  • Evaluated traffic to the MATTERS website itself using Google Analytics data

There is now a system in place for data versioning and issue tracking, via a private GitHub repository, so the Brandeis GPS team is able to coordinate with the MHTC and WPI points of contact asynchronously throughout the semester.

How can you participate?

The Brandeis GPS course that works with MATTERS data, Special Topics in Strategic Analytics, will be taught during our Fall 2 session starting in October. It is open to students who are matriculated in our 100% online MS in Strategic Analytics program, which aims to help students master the technical and strategic skills necessary to transform data analysis into insightful, data-backed stories to influence key decision makers. The 30-credit part-time, flexible program is designed with equal focus in both the art and science of data in its seven required courses and three electives. After graduating from the program, students should be able to identify patterns and trends within big data, interpret and communicate results to stakeholders of various levels, and leverage data to inform strategic decisions. Samples of our Strategic Analytics courses include Business Intelligence, Analytics and Strategic Decision MakingFoundations of Data Science and Analytics, and Data Quality and Governance.

How do you apply to Brandeis GPS?

If you’re interested in applying to the MS in Strategic Analytics, we offer rolling admission, so you can apply and be accepted at any time. However, there are recommended deadlines if you are seeking admission for a specific term. You should submit your application by Wednesday, September 12 for Fall 2 admission with courses starting in October. Those interested in the program who do not yet wish to pursue a full master’s degree can still take up to two online courses without officially enrolling. This is a great opportunity to get to know our programs and approach to online learning. Course registration is open now for our Fall 2 classes starting in October. Learn more about our MS in Strategic Analytics, and preview our Strategic Analytics courses here. You can also contact our enrollment team at gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

Brandeis GPS analytics program ranked in U.S. top 30

Brandeis University’s MS in Strategic Analytics program ranked 28th on College Choice’s list of the 50 Best Big Data Degrees for 2017.

Best-Online-Big-Data-Programs - Brandeis GPS Online Education - Brandeis GPS BlogFrom the College Choice announcement:

Strategic Analytics listing in College Choice's 50 Best Online Big Data Programs

View College Choice’s full list of schools here, and click here to learn more about Strategic Analytics at Brandeis.

Army Reservist shares his GPS experience in his own words

Faces of GPS | Steve Boardman

In 2014, I was in pursuit of a career plan for the next 20 years of my life and chose to leverage my IT experience as a software developer to shift into consulting as a business intelligence and big data analytics expert. In search of a graduate program to help propel me into that evolving field, I spent more than 100 hours researching many data science and analytics degree options.Boardman Military - Brandeis GPS Online Education - Brandeis GPS Blog

I found the Master of Science in Strategic Analytics at Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) to be the best fit for my life situation for many reasons:

  • The core curriculum and available electives seemed to be a well-balanced mix of business application, management, and technical disciplines.
  • The industry-experienced GPS faculty was a benefit because it enhanced my learning based on my prior undergraduate experience.
  • As an Army Reservist, the ability to conduct coursework online is an essential benefit. Moreover, the 10-week terms with a significant break between them promote a good work, school, and life balance, enabling students to complete the program in only 2 and a half years,  taking one course at a time.
  • The tuition fees were lower than other competing schools, and would be covered by my Post-9/11 GI Bill® VA benefits by 90 percent.

Since I started the Strategic Analytics program with GPS in spring 2015, I have completed seven courses toward my degree thus far and plan to graduate in the summer of 2017. Much of the knowledge that I’ve gained from the coursework has been directly applicable to my current position as an archival data systems development consultant. From what I’ve learned, I’ve been able to conduct more focused data analysis and produce more meaningful results to management, which has helped me earn their confidence and trust. As a result, I was given the lead role in spearheading my client’s business intelligence and data management strategy for analytics in September 2015. My return on investment is being realized even before completing my degree requirements.

Boardman Military 2 - Brandeis GPS Online Education - Brandeis GPS BlogCharging through the academic rigors of the program’s coursework and research has been achievable without a major sacrifice from family time and other activities. Living and working in Charleston, SC, with my wife and five-year-old daughter, my evenings during the week and weekends are well-balanced. Not every evening is spent doing school work, which my wife is very happy about. While taking at least one course per term, I am able to work a challenging full-time IT job, lead a platoon size unit in the Army Reserve part-time, play drums in a professional local rock band, and spend plenty of quality time with my family. I am grateful to my employer who pays for my remaining 10 percent tuition out of pocket. Now that GPS offers a 15% discount on tuition for active military and veterans, that saves my employer and the VA around $500 per course. Choosing the MS in Strategic Analytics at GPS was one of my best decisions, as it has proven to better my quality of life.

Steve Boardman is a software development professional with over 20 years of experience providing leadership in developing IT solutions for a variety of industries. He specializes in Enterprise Architecture (EA), Business Intelligence (BI) Strategy, Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) Implementation, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Systems Integration, Application Development, and Legacy System Migration.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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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