Director, Product Management, Oracle
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional background.
My career has been about enabling organizations to leverage computer technology to analyze, plan, and drive strategic change. The digital transformation of the economy continues to create opportunities to use analytics in everything from improving products and services to radically altering the competitive landscape and industries.
I started my career in KPMG’s data warehouse incubator developing solutions for the financial services and public sectors. From there, I joined Oracle’s business intelligence and data warehouse consulting practice and spent the next six years implementing analytic solutions and driving transformation at many organizations in private and public sectors.
In 2004, I joined Oracle’s analytic solutions product development in a product management role. In 2005, I received my MBA from Babson College. Since then I’ve brought to market multiple products, developed ecosystems, harmonized acquisitions, delivered cloud services, and helped thousands of customers and partners leverage analytics to drive transformation and strategic change.
What made you decide to choose the Harvard Business Analytics Program? How do you feel this program is different from other, similar programs?
As data volumes increase, organizations and leaders need to continuously distinguish impactful signals from noise in their data and formulate a strategy based on business analytics.
I was interested in this program because of my high regard for Harvard’s world-renowned faculty and the way their thought leadership has impacted the data explosion and analytics in organizations; my ambition to lead organizations using analytics in innovative ways and to continue developing analytics products and services using the latest technologies; and my interest in opportunities to develop practical solutions to real-world challenges with other industry leaders participating in this program that only Harvard could attract.
The Harvard Business Analytics Program is unique and more comprehensive than similar programs. It’s unique because it brings together three of Harvard’s schools, covering a wide range of topics from statistics and programming to strategy and innovation; it attracts and selects cohorts of leaders from all industries and lines of business from around the world and fosters tight collaboration and networking; it builds on the Harvard Business School’s world-class best practices to propel strategic thinking through business analytics; and it leverages online and offline learning and collaboration, the latest tools and technologies, and state-of-the-art teaching methodologies to deliver personal renewal needed for organizational transformation.
How has what you have learned in the program impacted the work you are currently doing?
Organizational renewal requires personal renewal. From learning Python to learning how to diagnose and solve organizational issues and address performance and opportunity gaps, I have gained multiple tools to continue improving our business and our products. Business analytics consulting experience earlier in my career taught me that change becomes possible through alignment of people and linking of processes with strategy. This program has thoughtfully and directly addressed the human dimension and organizational culture, while at the same time providing further technical depth. The program has helped me gain a new lens to understand better what to change as well as tools to help me make the necessary changes to deliver more value to our customers.
What has been your experience collaborating with classmates in an online environment?
Slack and Zoom have been great and have allowed us to engage in continuous discussion around the globe with the entire cohort. These discussions have helped us get to know each other. We’ve learned a great deal outside the classroom by sharing interesting news, presentations, and our knowledge and lessons learned. As a pioneer cohort, we’ve created a welcoming environment of supportive collaboration and mutual respect. We’ve also worked on shared documents using the Google apps. I have enjoyed using the learning tools and collaboration technology to guide the discussions in positive directions and helping create a collegial atmosphere where we can all learn from each other.
What advice do you have for others considering this program?
Be prepared for a robust program that requires a lot of work and significant engagement to get the most out of it. Leaders from many companies around the world come together every week to learn from world-class faculty and each other. Share your knowledge, skills, and positive attitude, and be prepared to receive the best from others in the program.
Although it’s a certificate program, the quality of content and experience is on par with degree programs from leading institutions.
Analytics is changing the world, and participation in this program helps leaders serve as agents of change and innovation in their respective industries and domains.
While one can gain significant technical skills in today’s data science tools through this program, those skills combined with leadership development and opportunity for personal renewal are what make this program unique and different from other master’s programs in data science.
What was the most valuable thing you took away from the immersion? Is there a particular moment, activity, or connection you made that stands out to you?
Friendships and close connections formed during the fun-filled weekend. One highlight was when a classmate had to sing the Jamaican national anthem. Another nice moment was the dinner organized by my teammate who got us a reservation at one of Boston’s best restaurants on a Saturday evening for 20-plus people. It was a lot of fun exchanging ideas and making stronger connections and friendships with my classmates. I hope as the program continues, we’ll have even more opportunities to connect and learn from each other.