New short guide: “To Publish or To Self-Publish My Textbook?”

My self-publishing endeavors have led to a growing number of conversations with colleagues, friends, colleagues-of-friends and other permutations who’ve asked me to share my experiences. Finally, I decided to write down a short guide, which is now available as a Kindle eBook. To Publish or To Self-Publish My Textbook? Notes from a Published and Self-Published Author gives a glimpse into the expectations, challenges, rewards, and surprises that an author experiences when publishing and/or self-publishing a textbook. This is not a guide on self-publishing, but rather notes about the process of publishing a textbook with a big publisher vs. self-publishing and what to … Continue reading New short guide: “To Publish or To Self-Publish My Textbook?”

Analytics magazines: Please lead the way for effective data presentation

Professional “analytics” associations such INFORMS, the American Statistical Association, and the Royal Statistical Society, have been launching new magazines intended for broader, non-academic audiences that are involved or interested in data analytics. Several of these magazines are aesthetically beautiful with plenty of interesting articles about applications of data analysis and their impact on daily life, society, and more. Significance magazine and Analytics magazine are two examples. The next step is for these magazines to implement what we preach regarding data presentation: use effective visualizations. In particular, the online versions can include interactive dashboards! If the New York Times and Washington Post can … Continue reading Analytics magazines: Please lead the way for effective data presentation

Business analytics student projects a valuable ground for industry-academia ties

Since October 2012, I have taught multiple courses on data mining and on forecasting. Teams of students worked on projects spanning various industries, from retail to eCommerce to telecom. Each project presents a business problem or opportunity that is translated into a data mining or forecasting problem. Using real data, the team then executes the analytics solution, evaluates it and presents recommendations. A select set of project reports and presentations is available on my website (search for 2012 Nov and 2012 Dec projects). For projects this year, we used three datasets from regional sources (thanks to our industry partners Hansa … Continue reading Business analytics student projects a valuable ground for industry-academia ties

Predictive modeling and interventions (why you need post-intervention data)

In the last few months I’ve been involved in nearly 20 data mining projects done by student teams at ISB, as part of the MBA-level course and an executive education program.  All projects relied on real data. One of the data sources was transactional data from a large regional hyper market. While the topics of the projects ranged across a large spectrum of business goals and opportunities for retail, one point in particular struck me as repeating across many projects and in many face-to-face discussions. The use of secondary data (data that were already collected for some purpose) for making … Continue reading Predictive modeling and interventions (why you need post-intervention data)

What does “business analytics” mean in academia?

But what exactly does this mean? In the recent ISIS conference, I organized and moderated a panel called “Business Analytics and Big Data: How it affects Business School Research and Teaching“. The goal was to tackle the ambiguity in the terms “Business Analytics” and “Big Data” in the context of business school research and teaching. I opened with a few points: Some research b-schools are posting job ads for tenure-track faculty in “Business Analytics” (e.g., University of Maryland; Google “professor business analytics position” for plenty more). What does this mean? what is supposed to be the background of these candidates … Continue reading What does “business analytics” mean in academia?

Flipping and virtualizing learning

Adopting new technology for teaching has been one of my passions, and luckily my students have been understanding even during glitches or choices that turn out to be ineffective (such as the mobile/Internet voting technology that I wrote about last year). My goal has been to use technology to make my courses more interactive: I use clickers for in-class polling (to start discussions and assess understanding, not for grading!); last year, after realizing that my students were constantly on Facebook, I finally opened a Facebook account and ran a closed FB group for out-of-class discussions; In my online courses on … Continue reading Flipping and virtualizing learning

Self-publishing to the rescue

The new Coursera course by Princeton Professor Mung Chiang was so popular that Amazon and the publisher ran out of copies of the textbook before the course even started (see “new website features” announcement; requires login). I experienced a stockout of my own textbook (“Data Mining for Business Intelligence”) a couple of years ago, which caused grief and slight panic to both students and instructors. With stockouts in mind, and recognizing the difficulty of obtaining textbooks outside of North America (unavailable, too expensive, or long/costly shipping), I decided to take things into my own hands and self-publish a “Practical Analytics” series of … Continue reading Self-publishing to the rescue

Trees in pivot table terminology

Recently, I’ve been requested by non-data-mining colleagues to explain how Classification and Regression Trees work. While a detailed explanation with examples exists in my co-authored textbook Data Mining for Business Intelligence, I found that the following explanation worked well with people who are familiar with Excel’s Pivot Tables: Classification tree for predicting vulnerability to famine Suppose the goal is to generate predictions for some variable, numerical or categorical, given a set of predictors. The idea behind trees is to create groups of records with similar profiles in terms of their predictors, and then average the outcome variable of interest to … Continue reading Trees in pivot table terminology

The mad rush: Masters in Analytics programs

The recent trend among mainstream business schools is opening a graduate program or a concentration in Business Analytics (BA). Googling “MS Business Analytics” reveals lots of big players offering such programs. A few examples (among many others) are: Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College Michigan State’s Broad School of Business NYU Stern University of Connecticut’s School of Business Rutgers Business School Drexel’s Lebow College of Business These programs are intended (aside from making money) to bridge the knowledge gap between the “data or IT team” and the business experts. Graduates should be able to lead analytics teams in companies, identifying opportunities where … Continue reading The mad rush: Masters in Analytics programs

Launched new book website for Practical Forecasting book

Last week I launched a new website for my textbook Practical Time Series Forecasting. The website offers resources such as the datasets used in the book, a block with news that pushes posts to the book Facebook page, information about the book and author, for instructors an online form for requesting an evaluation copy and another for requesting access to solutions, etc. I am already anticipating my colleagues’ question “what platform did you use?”. Well, I did not hire a web designer, nor did I spend three months putting the website together using HTML. Instead, I used Google Sites. This … Continue reading Launched new book website for Practical Forecasting book