Caroline Ballard VIDEO EXTRA: Although Krannert's degree programs in business analytics are new, alumni including Caroline Ballard, Bryon Young, Derek Mauk and Francisco Rius are already finding success with companies that rely on big data to drive profitability and improve the bottom line. (Photo and videos by Jeremy Lwande)

Data Networks

In addition to seasoned professionals like John Annakin and Pete Scarpelli, more recent Krannert alumni working in the field of big data and business analytics include Caroline (Parrin) Ballard (BSM ’08), digital media director at Starcom in Chicago.

“I use the concept of big data every day in my role,” she says. “Within digital media, I work on several different platforms. My job is to drive addressable advertising that finds the right person at the right time on the right website. But big data isn’t just about advertising.

When you think about the Internet of Things and all the connected devices we now have — from cell phones to smart refrigerators — there are a lot of opportunities to make people’s lives easier.”

Byron YoungByron Young (BSM ’12) also uses big data in his new role as global director of planning at Mad Engine, the leading licensed  apparel wholesaler in the world with locations dedicated to customer service, manufacturing, distribution and quality assurance. He honed his skills in big data — specifically social data — in his former position as advertising coordinator at Twitter in New York City.

“Social data is what people are talking about on social media and where those different conversations take place,” Young says. “That creates data points on everything from what people actually say to the tone in which they say it. My role is to take all of that data and distill it down and give companies a perspective on what people are saying about their brand or a new product release. Are they talking about it in a good way and when are they talking about it? That gives our customers insight into how to target their marketing and distribute their products.”

Derek MaukDerek Mauk (BSM ’09, MBA ’10) exercises the business analytics skills he developed at Krannert as senior innovation brand manager at Anheuser-Busch InBev in New York City.

“When we’re looking at opportunities in the broader beverage landscape, we have to get ‘data smart’ quickly and use our critical-thinking skills to make the correct strategy recommendations,” he says. “It’s critical that we prioritize and analyze our data to achieve the business results we’re seeking and ultimately grow the company.”

Franciso RiusAs senior manager of player analytics and forecasting at Electronic Arts, Francisco Rius (BSM’04, MBA ’07) oversees analysis and insights for the company’s top sports videogame franchises – including FIFA, Madden, NHL, and UFC. He manages teams in North America and Europe that analyze data and produce information to improve games, drive player engagement and maximize the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns.

“My job is to deliver data-driven insights to level up the video game player experience,” Rius says. “Data helps us know who we’ve engaged and better reach those we haven’t, but we gather so much that it’s sometimes hard to know how to use it. That’s where business analytics comes into play.”

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