An Interview with Dr. Rao Mikkilineni: Business Analytics and Data Security

Dr. Rao Mikkilineni is Chief Scientist and Co-Founder C3DNA Inc., a Silicon Valley start-up launched in 2013. He has also filled roles at Bell Systems and Hitachi. He will be teaching a class in Business Analytics Security in GGU’s Master in Business Analytics program this year.


What can you tell us about the data analytics career?
Data analytics requires data scientists who are trained in algorithms and tools that assist in extracting knowledge from raw data by correlating various items or using classification methods. The data scientists are in demand. For example, a search of LinkedIn shows that there are 1600+ jobs for data scientists at Microsoft right now (3/30/17).

Business Analytics is often written about in the context of consumer transactions. What is the connection to data security?
Information security is about protecting confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data, which is its enterprise asset. There are three states in which data is vulnerable to threats from outside: during execution where it resides in a process memory, in-flight (during its transmission from a source to a destination), and at rest (where it is stored).

As the data is collected from different sources in various forms, good analytics tools and technologies provide the agility required to react almost in real-time. The data have to be monitored, the collected data analyzed, any anomalies or suspicious behaviors identified and action has to be taken to prevent a security breach. If a security breach occurs, we must take various forensic actions involving data analysis from multiple sources.

A good business analytics master’s program provides a wide selection of business analytics classes and a disciplined process to using multiple subjects to develop enough mastery to start a career.

At my company, C3DNA, we use data analysis to auto-scale workloads in data center or cloud environments to meet large fluctuations in user demand — or changes in resources on which the applications are executed. We make any application run on any cloud without having to change the application, the operating system in which it executes, or the infrastructure (server, network, and storage) provisioning processes. This gives the enterprises a choice to use their data centers or any cloud from any provider on demand.

By making applications self-aware and self-managing (using a cognitive overlay just as biological systems do), we reduce the complexity of application management in a distributed network of clouds and save operational costs by an order of magnitude. The cognitive overlay allows us to provide highly available systems even on a not so reliable infrastructure.

Tell us about the Business Analytics Security course you teach at GGU?
The Business Analytics Security class is part of the Business Analytics master’s degree program and is designed to help both IT professionals and data analysts to understand how analytics assist in proactively manage information security. In a globally connected computing infrastructure, communication, collaboration, and commerce (at almost the speed of light) are demanding real-time management of information confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

If a security breach occurs, we must take various forensic actions involving data analysis from multiple sources.

Why is graduate-level work important for a business analytics career?

Data analyst or scientist careers demand expertise in multiple disciplines: probability and statistics, data exploration and visualization technologies; data ingestion, cleansing, and transformation technologies; introduction to machine learning and various tools and algorithms; and familiarity with tools such as R, Python, and Machine Learning A good master’s program provides a wide selection of business analytics classes and a disciplined process to using multiple subjects to develop enough mastery to start a career.


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Continue reading “An Interview with Dr. Rao Mikkilineni: Business Analytics and Data Security”

Women Make High-Level Contributions at Golden Gate University

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we would like to acknowledge the accomplished women who make a large contribution at GGU. Women are represented at the VP and Dean level — and are well over half of the degree program chairs and directors.

Vice President and Deans

Barbara Karlin
Vice President, Academic Affairs & Professor, School of Taxation

Rachel Van Cleve
Dean of the School of Law Professor of Law

Kayla Krupnick Walsh, Dean Student Services

Associate & Assistant Deans

Benedetta Faedi Duramy
Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, School of Law

Corey Farris
Associate Dean for Law Career Development, School of Law

Marianne Koch
Associate Dean, Ageno School of Business

Jamie Nye
Associate Dean, Law Student Support, School of Law

Ayana Richardson
Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Program

Jelena Kelleher Ristic
Associate Dean and Director for Undergraduate Program

Kimberly Staley
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, School of Law

Chairs & Directors

Ageno School of Business

Andrea Anthony, Department Chair for the Financial & Economics Department 

Kendra Calvert, Director of Admissions and Recruitment

Cassandra Dilosa, Director of Administration, Graduate Programs

Judith Lee, Chair of Business Analytics, Operations, & IT Management

Marcia Ruben, Chair, Graduate Management Program Assistant Professor

Marie Spark, Director, Project Management Program

Blodwen Tarter, Chair and Professor of Marketing and Public Relations

PLUS Program

Karen McRobie, Director

School of Law

Rana Boujaoude, Director, Bar Services Program

Olivera Jovanovic, Director, Graduate Law Programs

Reichi Lee, Director, Academic Development Program Adjunct Professor

School of Taxation

Kathleen Wright, Director of State and Local Tax, Braden School of Taxation

Undergraduate Programs

Nabanita Talukdar, Director of Math Programs

Sarah Maslov, Director of Administration, Undergraduate Programs

Associate & Assistant Directors

Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Wellness Services

Jennifer Carri,  Director, Student Life and Wellness Services

Alliah Gilman-Bey, Associate Director, Advising Services

Lori Granger, Assistant Director, Wellness Services
Regina Guerrero, Associate Director for Academic Affairs

Sandra Jimenez, Assistant Director, Student life

Neepa Parikh, Associate Director, Office of Career Services

Saba Sohail, Assistant Director, Advising Services

GGU also supports the success of its female students with its annual Women in Leadership event. You can watch the recent panel discussion, which was hosted by Ageno School of Business Associate Dean Marianne Koch.

Video: Oracle Vice President Discusses GGU’s Master’s Degree in Business Analytics

Golden Gate University is proud to have Rich Clayton as a member of the Advisory Board of the new Master of Business Analytics program. He is the VP of Oracle’s Business Analytics Product Group and is responsible for the global adoption of the company’s Business Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, and Enterprise Performance Management solutions.

Clayton’s passion for helping companies create value from data is evident in this brief video (1:24) about GGU’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program. The program, he says, has been “designed by business professionals, taught by business professionals, for business professionals,” making it unique and highly relevant to the demands about this rapidly growing profession.


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Practice Your Data Analytics Skills with These Free Data Sources

If you are considering a career in Business Analytics and are a database query geek, there are many free sources of data on the Internet to play with. Here are 10 examples from the mundane – grain and construction — to the entertaining– baseball and hip-hop lyrics.

Mentions of Donald Trump in the hip-hop data trove were 160 positive (mentions of his wealth dominate), 74 neutral, and 34 negative.

If you want to hunt for your own data to play with, GGU Adjunct Professor Rao Mikkilineni suggests this list of 25 websites for data science projects which contain the sources above. Mikkilineni currently teaches courses in GGU’s master’s degree in Business Analytics program.


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Accountant Stereotypes are Just Plain Wrong—Or, What a Career in Accounting is Really Like

By Fred Sroka, Dean of the GGU School of Accounting & Bruce F. Braden School of Taxation

When most people hear the word accountant, they think of the guy in the corner adding up numbers and not talking to anyone. Perhaps the way accountants are portrayed in movies is part of it. Consider the neurotic nerd Gene Wilder in the Producers (1968) or the completely unsocial Ben Affleck in the Accountant (2016). Like most stereotypes, they are just plain wrong. Let’s help bust some myths.

Myth #1: Accountants are antisocial.

Because accounting is a service business, we need to stay close to the needs and ultimate goals of our clients or employers. This kind of interpersonal connection is vital to doing a good job and part of the satisfaction. Anyone who’s worked in a public accounting firm knows that it’s a team sport. There are simply too many rules for anyone to do it all themselves.

The nerdy stereotype of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is simply not the image desired and held by the accounting profession. The typical stereotype depicts accountants as cold, aloof, and impersonal. In contrast, CPAs consider themselves skilled in the interpersonal abilities necessary to maintain successful client relationships. Large public accounting firms are increasing their investments in “emotional intelligence” training to better connect their people with one another and with their clients. If you want to hide behind a computer screen all day, your value to your clients won’t be much higher than QuickBooks™ or TurboTax™ .

Myth #2: Accountants are “math people” and “bean counters.”

Whereas the field was largely computational in the past, changes in technology have made this just one component in what happens. Nowadays, computers do most of the computational work, while accountants synthesize massive amounts of data into a simple picture of a company’s financial position. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a chart is worth a thousand numbers.

CPAs consider themselves skilled in the interpersonal abilities necessary to maintain successful client relationships. Large public accounting firms are increasing their investments in “emotional intelligence” training to better connect their people with one another and with their clients.

Myth #3: Accountants are not creative.

Many of our successful accounting alumni have a background in liberal arts. We have many music majors that have thrived in the GGU Master of Accountancy program, because musical literacy rests on an understanding of patterns and structures, along with a strong creative streak!

In the related field of Taxation, laws are always changing and are subject to interpretation. Our graduates describe how they enjoy collaborating with executives to analyze situations and decide what moves to make.

Myth #4: Accounting is not fun.

Accountants love solving puzzles. They live for those exciting “AHA moments” when you figure out a pattern or insight behind the numbers, much like finishing a New York Times Sunday crossword or even “finding Waldo.” That’s an accountant’s moment to celebrate.

At GGU, we create problem solvers who are proud to call themselves accountants. Our alumni are active at the best tech companies, accounting firms, governments, and non-profits, smashing stereotypes along the way.

Myth#5: Accountants do not serve the public good.

Many of our graduates are in the forensic accounting field and can use these gaming skills to nail the bad guys who cook the books or embezzle funds. Accountants also believe in giving back to the communities they serve. For example, CPA firms challenge their staff to work with Habitat for Humanity, Food Banks, and schools with financial literacy programs.

Myth #6: Accountants are all the same type of person.

Not all of us look like Gene Wilder or Ben Affleck. GGU’s diverse student body shows that accounting attracts people from all walks of life, ethnicities, and countries of origin. We have extroverts as well as introverts, those just out of college and those with many years of experience starting a new career or adding to their skills.

Myth #7: Accounting isn’t relevant to business goals.

Think of an accountant like a FitBit® for management and investors. Accountants give a quick, easy-to-understand picture of the company’s current financial health, clear guidance on how to improve this health, and solid metrics as the company develops.

At GGU, we create problem solvers who are proud to call themselves accountants. Our alumni are active at the best tech companies, accounting firms, governments, and non-profits, smashing stereotypes along the way.


About Fred Sroka

Fred Sroka, JD is the Dean of the GGU School of Accounting & Bruce F. Braden School of Taxation. Fred Sroka received his JD from UCLA, practiced as a tax lawyer for 18 years, worked as a tax accountant for 18 years, and managed a couple of years as a management consultant! He has been a member of the GGU adjunct tax faculty since 1983, and a member of the tax advisory board. Fred retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 2014 and has served as the Dean of the Bruce F. Braden School of Tax since October 2014.

He holds an active CPA license in California and Colorado and is an inactive member of the California State Bar. Fred and his wife Ronda have two kids (both off in grad school), who provide constant coaching on the world from a millennial student’s perspective. Fred loves to play tennis and golf and is constantly puttering around the house with his tools.


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Labor Laws, Diversity, and Giving 100%: Dean Rachel Van Cleave Interviews the President of GGU’s Student Bar Association

JATell me something special or interesting about your background before you went to law school?

Unsurprisingly, I have been involved in student government since middle school, through high school and college. I really enjoy being involved in advocating for students and in advancing policies that better support students.

Why did you decide to go to law school?

I am a first generation American; my parents came to the US from Nicaragua and they instilled in me the value of working to improve myself and my community. I saw how my mom was treated by her employer when I learned that her employer was not complying with employment laws, I became frustrated by not being able to do anything about it. Enrolling in the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic (WERC) I have come to appreciate the power my law degree will give me to work for enforcement of the laws intended to protect workers.

The legal profession has not yet achieved enough diversity. It is important that our society has lawyers with different perspectives and backgrounds to ensure that those who seek access to the justice system have a lawyer who can empathize with their situation. I take very seriously my position as a role model and seek to encourage more to achieve greater diversity.

Tell me something special or interesting about your law school experience.

At first, moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco was a big adjustment for me, but I quickly fell in love with GGU. I have made many very good friends and have learned a lot from faculty, especially working with Professor Hina Shah in WERC. In particular, I have learned a lot about the practice of law, working with clients and how to provide effective representation. Professor Shah also helped me and other students start a new student group, Labor and Employment Law Association (LELA). Although I still root for LA sports teams, I love the Bay Area.

What is your greatest source of motivation/support as you work towards your JD?
My family. They have supported me and encouraged me to be a role model for the Latino/a community. The legal profession has not yet achieved enough diversity. It is important that our society has lawyers with different perspectives and backgrounds to ensure that those who seek access to the justice system have a lawyer who can empathize with their situation. I take very seriously my position as a role model and seek to encourage more to achieve greater diversity.

In sports, people often talk about “leaving it all on the field” and I encourage you to approach law school and your legal career in the same way — over prepare, focus on achieving your personal best, 100%, all the time.

What is your favorite thing you do when you are not at law school?
I like to play and watch sports, especially basketball. Playing basketball is a good stress reliever. It may even boost my career. I recently got an elbow jabbed near my eye. A partner at Hanson Bridgett, where I am working this summer, asked me how I got a black eye and when I told him it was from playing basketball, he invited me to join regular pick-up games with Bay Area lawyers at 7:00 am on Fridays!

What message/advice do you have for your fellow law students?
No matter what you are trying to — getting a job or preparing for an exam — give it your all and do your best. In sports, people often talk about “leaving it all on the field” and I encourage you to approach law school and your legal career in the same way — over prepare, focus on achieving your personal best, 100%, all the time. My advice for first-year students is to get involved but don’t over commit. Talk to other students about ways to get involved and select what aligns best with your strengths, passion and career goals.

If not in law school right now, what would you be doing?
Politics. Before law school, I was involved in fundraising for the Obama campaign and more recently, if I were not in law school I would have been working for the Sanders campaign. I might eventually get back into politics.

Josue Aparicio finishes his term as the Student Bar Association president this April and will be graduating with a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree in May. Currently, he is Judicial Extern for Presiding Justice Ruvolo at California Court of Appeal.



About the Interviewer

rachel-van-cleaveDean Rachel Van Cleave has devoted her career to legal education. She has taught at six law schools and has been at GGU Law since 2004. She has served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for four years and is in her fourth year serving as Dean. Dean Van Cleave loves GGU Law’s mission and history and enjoys getting to know students and learning how we can best support their success. In particular, Dean Van Cleave appreciates partnering with students, faculty and staff to enhance all that we do to cultivate lawyers who will be a part of building a better and more just society.

Dean Van Cleave is an avid SF Giants fan but enjoys attending games with Josue and other students who have different baseball loyalties!

Making Choices:  Successful Bay Area Women Share Their Career Experiences

In honor of Women’s History Month, we invite you to watch the video of GGU’s 4th Annual Women in Leadership event that took place last fall. The panel event exposed current students to professional women who gave advice and shared stories on the topics of launching a new career, networking, personal values, and work-life balance. Three GGU alumni served as panelists:

Sofia Tulchinsky
(MBA ’96), Senior Director of Global Business Planning & Strategy, Salesforce

Givelle Lamano
(JD ’10), Attorney, Lamano Law Offices & Alameda County and co-founder of the Three Strikes Justice Center

Susan Lovegren
(MBA ’86), Chief People Officer, AppDynamics

The event was hosted by Dr. Marianne Koch who is Associate Dean of the Ageno School of Business, HR Program Director and a Professor of Management. Dr. Koch began the session by posing a single question to the three GGU alumni: What choices did you have to make to get where you are today? Here are a few choice quotes:

You can’t just decide what you like. You have to go through a series of steps to find out what you don’t like.

—Sofia Tulchinsky (MBA ’96)

I sought out successful female professionals in the Bay Area that shared my values. Personal Development precedes professional development.

—Givelle Lamano (JD ’10)

Selecting companies where I could learn from others was important at the start of my career.

—Susan Lovegren (MBA ’86)

You can watch the full video (below) or watch shorter highlights version on YouTube.

 

Golden Gate University Investment Research Club Wins Regional Competition

A student team representing the Golden Gate University Investment Research Club (IRC) has won the regional CFA Institute Research Challenge, prevailing over graduate schools across Northern California. The competition required teams to create a written report and deliver a group presentation to a panel of financial services professionals.

San Francisco CFA Investment Competition
Left to right: David Kaczorowski, CFA (mentor) along with Zhe-Yuan Zhang, William Xu, Gannon Kim and Hemal Patel.

“The GGU Student Government Association and Sandra Jimenez, Assistant Director of Student Life at GGU, always gave the IRC strong backing and encouragement,” says William Xu (center, above). “Finance Chair Andrea Anthony also showed tremendous support to the IRC and dropped by during one of the meetings to give us a pep talk. I also cannot say enough about the Professor Kaczorowski, who selflessly dedicated his personal time and patiently advised and mentored us.”

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a world-wide competition. GGU’s team, made up of students in the Master of Science in Finance program, will advance to the next round in Seattle to face competitors from North and South America.


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What is Hadoop and what is the technology behind it? Looking at a Key Business Analytics Platform

If you are considering a career in business analytics, a working knowledge of Hadoop – a platform for handling Big Data – goes a long way. Hadoop is in wide use around the world and in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the demand for business analytics professionals is the highest (according to Forbes).

Big Data has transformed businesses and requires a new class of data intelligence professionals that can meet the challenge interpreting it. But there are also technical challenges to working with Big Data. Organizations ingest an enormous amount of data every millisecond—most of which is unstructured and cannot be handled by conventional databases. The servers needed to “crunch” these data are expensive and can be difficult to implement. Among the solutions to these challenges is Hadoop, an open source framework that uses a variety of tools and techniques to peer into big data and give decision-makers better insight. Hadoop is a component of the curriculum of Golden Gate University’s new master’s degree in Business Analytics because it is geared toward Big Data and provides a resource to professionals who specialize in its interpretation.

We asked GGU alumnus and Senior Hadoop Administrator at UnitedHealth Group, Ken Nakagawa, to answer a few questions about Hadoop.


How would you explain what Hadoop is if someone asked you at a bus stop or on Caltrain?

Hadoop is free open source software that allows companies to store and analyze data that was probably not utilized before because of the cost of hosting many proprietary servers, as well as the processing speed needed to examine large data sets.

The longer answer is that Hadoop has the significant advantage of being able to analyze unstructured data like log files, chat conversations, and tweets, etc. The amount of data generated is so enormous that conventional large computer systems and relational databases cannot keep up and provide a cost-efficient solution. A significant advantage is that Hadoop is open source and you can use commodity servers. Before companies such as IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems, etc. would offer data warehouse products for storing a large amount of data, but they were usually very expensive.

What method does Hadoop use to make data crunching faster?

Our Hadoop cluster has about 370 nodes (servers) the combined storage is about three petabytes. At my company, we are ingesting between 9 and 12 terabytes of data a day. Hadoop can make data crunching faster by combing a set of commodity PC servers a cluster can act like one giant computer. Hadoop will assign a part of a job to each server within the cluster to work on their part, get their results, combine them and present the results as a whole. Clustering nodes – rather than buying a large server – provides scalability depending on your need. You can easily scale from three nodes up to thousands.  It is both technically efficient and cost effective.

I think a Business Analytics specialist will have an advantage if they study or have experience with Hadoop and its analytic tools. If business people can get hands on experience accessing all that data, they usually find new information and patterns. 

Can you describe a particular project that Hadoop that was memorable?

EBay is a big Hadoop user. All those items you see for sale on their site are stored as unstructured data in a Hadoop database. When I was a consultant, EBay was one of my most memorable customers because their business is so integrated with Hadoop.

How does Hadoop make sense of unstructured data?

Hadoop can store unstructured data and have databases like Apache HBase™ serve it up. You can store, query and even modify the data just like using a relational database and retrieve it just as quickly.

Why would a business person need hands on knowledge of Hadoop – outside of the technical side which you inhabit?

I think a Business Analytics specialist will have an advantage if they study or have experience with Hadoop and its analytic tools. If business people can get hands on experience accessing all that data, they usually find new information and patterns. For a big company, it can give you access to other department’s data that you didn’t have before. You will have a greater source of data to work with!


Ken Nakagawa (MS ’02, Database Development and Administration) is the Senior Security Consultant Hadoop Administrator at UnitedHealth Group.

Which Way Will Trump Turn to Resolve the Big Contradictions in the GOP Corporate Tax Plan? OR: If you ever hear the phrase “It works in theory!” about a tax plan, run for the hills!

By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus, Ageno School of Business – Golden Gate University


Just revealed in his speech to Congress, the issue of whether the corporate tax reduction will include a “border adjustment tax” on goods imported to the United States has been mesmerizing stock market analysts – if not most investors, who have driven the market up to record highs this year – for the past couple of weeks. Maybe investors know the answer or think they will like it; investors usually dislike uncertainty intensely, but for the moment they are whistling past this known unknown.

Corporate America would like an answer, soon, and has been showing their seriously divided views on this issue in the media and their well-publicized meetings at the White House with the president and his economic advisors. Business people dislike policy uncertainty even more than investors do, especially when it comes to tax planning as they work through the usual winter budgeting exercises for their next fiscal years.

… the Trump Administration and Congress, who together now own both their promises and the economy, must somehow resolve those contradictions…if they want to actually get anything accomplished on taxes and the economy.

Members of Congress (especially in the majority Party) are equally on pins and needles on this issue, in part because the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives is lock-step committed to the “border adjustment tax” as a key part of their tax plan, while the Party leadership in the Senate has, to put it charitably, been “keeping its options open” — as is the Trump White House. For the erstwhile “Party of Business,” the problem is that “Business” is as intensely divided on this issue as most of America is on what to do about immigration – and how’s that divide working out for us?

So what’s it all about, Alfie? It’s about the inherent contradictions in the overall tax promises that Trump campaigned on, and pulled in not only himself but also GOP majorities in both Houses of Congress. And it’s about how the Trump Administration and Congress, who together now own both their promises and the economy, must somehow resolve those contradictions (which you can get away with in a campaign but not for long in governing) if they want to actually get anything accomplished on taxes and the economy.

Article Continues on the Huffington Post >>