Professor Dmitry Krass is one of the Co-Academic Directors for Rotman’s Master of Management Analytics program. We chatted with him about some of the key aspects of the program, the type of students who he typically sees in class, and the benefits of studying at a business school.
Rotman: Could you tell us about your background?
Krass: I have been a faculty member at Rotman since 1989 –it was called “The Faculty of Management” back then. I came here right after my Ph.D. in Operations Research/ Mathematical Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. I have long-standing interest in analytics.
For many years I was a partner in a boutique consulting agency, where I led the R&D initiatives. In 2016 the school’s leadership asked me to design the MMA program. Together with my colleagues from the Operations Management and Statistics group we put together a unique program that launched in 2018 and quickly became among the top-ranked and most competitive programs at Rotman.
R: Why is management analytics so important today?
K: Both the availability of data and computing capabilities are increasing exponentially. Companies have made massive investments in both data and computing resources. Yet, converting these investments into effective decision support systems for key managerial decisions is as elusive as ever. Thus, linking managerial decisions with data-based analytics – which is what management analytics is all about – is ever more crucial.
R: What is the benefit of studying at a business school like Rotman?
K: If your interest is in applying analytics and data to support organizational and managerial decisions, the most natural place to study is in a business school. Programs offered at other departments, such as engineering and computer science, are much more focused on algorithms and technical aspects, while our program is primarily about real-life impact of analytics.
The additional benefits of being at Rotman is that we are very interested in having you achieve your career goals and thus provide full career support, as well as opportunities to develop your personal communication and presentation skills.
In addition, you will have a chance to network with students, both within the MMA and from other programs, who are likely to take leadership positions in Canadian business world in near future. Forming personal connections with this elite group will ensure your future success.
R: What are the key strengths of Rotman’s Master of Management Analytics program?
K: It is our focus on both hard and soft skills – we expect our graduates to be technically very strong, and also able to understand managerial issues and interact effectively with managers.
The most unique feature of the Rotman’s Master of Management Analytics program is our Practicum Project, which allows you to engage in a consulting-style project with a real organization. The project combines the best aspects of an internship (you are working with and are supervised by data scientists from within the organization while working with live data on a real problem) and a capstone project (which is usually more broadly focused than internship, however is often done on pre-defined data and in an academic, rather than real-world setting).
R: Do you see a change in the type of students in the Master of Management Analytics?
K: The students are technically quite strong: their coding skills are getting better every year, as is their familiarity with some of the predictive analytics models. They are also more open to careers outside of the traditional industries, such as banking and telecommunications, and are interested in less-traditional industries such as healthcare, government, and non-profit.
R: What do Data Scientists in Residence bring to the program? How do students benefit from time with them?
K: This is an important and unique resource for the program. Our DSiRs are practicing senior data scientists with strong academic backgrounds (typically a PhD) who are interested in working with students. Their involvement ranges from teaching courses, to mentoring, to helping students in various data competitions.
R: What is your proudest moment in the MMA so far?
K: My proudest moment in the Rotman Master of Management Analytics program so far is too see the growth of the program and the recognition it has received, which have both been remarkable for such a young program. Almost immediately we were ranked as one of the top business analytics programs in the world. The large number of applications we receive is indicative that this is a much-valued degree.
R: If you could share one thing with someone thinking about applying for Rotman’s Master of Management Analytics, what would it be?
K: Passion and curiosity are what separates great data scientists from average ones. The tools we teach can be applied to any walk of life. Apply them to things you are curious and passionate about.
To learn more about Rotman’s Master of Management Analytics, attend one of our admissions events and chat directly with someone on our team, or visit the website.