Lizhen Xu teaches Machine Learning for Business (MGT 6452) in the Online Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics.
1. Who has had the greatest influence on your career path?
My Ph.D. advisor, fellow doctoral students, and exceptional colleagues inspire and encourage me to keep pursuing higher goals in my academic career.
2. When did you start becoming interested in business analytics?
Definitely not the first semester I learned econometrics in graduate school. It was when I realized how many interesting stories one can tell from data.
3. Which issue in this field are you most passionate about?
Model-based learning. Developing models to capture strategic decision-making processes (often based on economic theories) and linking the models to observable data to estimate the unknown parameters. This is a powerful approach to discovering the subtle underlying mechanism hidden beneath the data.
4. What is the biggest lesson that you've learned since you started teaching?
It is important to explain the intuition and application scenarios beyond the mere technical details when teaching highly technical subjects like analytics.
5. What advice do you have for your students to be successful in this program?
Make sure you grasp the fundamental concepts well before moving on to the next level. Analytics is built upon an intricate network of interconnected knowledge building blocks. Laying a solid foundation is vital for successful advancement in further study and future career.
6. What would students be surprised to learn about you?
I am equally, if not more, interested in areas that may seem the “opposite” of analytics (i.e., not involving numbers and data at all) like literature, history, and arts.