Business Analytics Project at Digital Ad Agency Leads to Promotion & Google Award

The creative function is what most people think of when you say, “ad agency,” and what attracts people to the field. Although SEO and engaging people through social media are the core competencies, data – if used well – makes a big competitive difference. In an age of all-digital advertising, Jeremy Bice (MBA, ’17) says “everything is data-driven.” Agencies need to crunch the data with great precision to see what ads are working with indicators like cost-per-click, as well as conversions and return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).

Bice started off at Logical Position, a digital marketing agency, as an account manager but had an interest in data that stretched back to his work in signals intelligence in the Marines. He moved from accounts to the paid search team, which relies on Google’s AdWords for its clients’ digital marketing data.

Customer retention is critical to any business, and the agency wanted ways to improve the numbers. “We hypothesized that we might find data hidden in our in-house data and Google AdWords about which clients were in jeopardy and what to do about it,” says Bice. For his efforts and those on his teams, Google gave the agency an award for integrating and leveraging its data.

Discoveries about the Client Life Cycle

Using business analytics skills he learned at Golden Gate University, such as Python and R programming, Bice discovered that there was a relationship between clients’ spend level and the client life-cycle — which spans onboarding to multiyear relationships. The results revealed that clients were most likely to become more engaged or drop at certain stages. The team also discovered that if clients made it past a certain lifespan milestone, their customer lifespan would rise significantly. That’s where services could be bolstered.

Bice and the team also integrated customer interactions with staff with the AdWords data—and did a text analysis on the staff notes with Python. Staff also rated how the calls went on a scale from 1-5, adding another dimension to discover customer engagement.

“…when I look at a data visualization with someone at work,
they immediately say one thing, but I can offer an interpretation based on the business processes as a whole. That is very useful.”

—Jeremy Bice (MBA, ’17)

Predictive Analysis

After standardizing and consolidating data, adding new fields to supplement Google data, Logical Position had what Bice calls a “risk profiler.” He set up a predictive model that allows them to alert account managers about which accounts may not be being served the best and determine what corrective action could be taken.

Business Analytics and Customer Segments

Bice also uncovered data that showed unexpected connections between customer segments and performance. “We did a deep dive for average monetary performance on accounts when we threw in the AdWords metrics.” Through this in-house data analysis, they discovered that fluctuations in revenue were much more useful in predicting cancellations in large clients than small ones.

Making New Business Decisions

Logical Position made company decisions based on their interpretations, making this a true business analytics project. The difference between small and large clients led the agency to change how they served smaller clients — improving onboarding would increase revenue.

Soft skills that Bice learned at GGU also come into play during the project: “At GGU, I learned how to research businesses and got a lot out of class discussions about how they work and use their data. Now, when I look at a data visualization with someone at work, they immediately say one thing, but I can give them an alternative explanation. I can offer an interpretation based on the business processes as a whole. That is very useful.”

Next Step

On the strength of his customer-retention project, the agency created a new position for him in a new department called Operations Development that creates internal tools and processes to help the company scale efficiently. Bice passes on recommendations to programmers; and, with management support, they develop new applications.

The next step for Bice, he says, is to dig deeper into a data science role as his career progresses.

Request information about the MBA or MS in Data Analytics at GGU >>

Big Data & Brontobytes: Business Development Professional Speaks to Advanced Math Students

The “brontobyte” is not the world’s biggest dinosaur – as big as 12 African Elephants—that was discovered this year in Argentina — but a new unit of data measurement representing 1027 bytes. As Jerry Chang, Director, of Business Development at Mercury Systems explained to Dr. Cang Nguyen’s (DBA ’13) Statistics class said, this number represents the challenge and opportunity of Big Data for today’s businesses.

“In the age of inter-office print memos, we needed more information to make a sound business decision; now, however, in the age of Information Superhighway, we have too much,” said Chang. “The companies who learned how to analyze this information effectively will have significant competitive advantages; and so are the students who learn the critical thinking and data analytical skills through the courses offered at GGU.”

“…managers heavily depend on data and make decisions based on the data; but when setting the future for the company, visionary leaders often look beyond the data!”

Dr. Nguyen, himself a graduate of the DBA program at GGU, invited Chang to show students how decisions are made using Big Data in real-world situations.  Chang cited 1-to-1 marketing as a way how business leverages Big Data. Companies strive to know what consumers want, when they want it, and how much they are willing to pay for it. Instead of focusing on mass market, business is now able to personalize and contextualize the individual market in anticipating focused prospects’ needs. Chang recalled a situation where he hoped that Google could figure out where he may need to buy an umbrella in anticipation during his travel to a new city with an upcoming shower rain.

Dr. Cang reported to Chang for 14 years at Microsemi Corporation – a company that provides semiconductor and system solutions government and industrial markets. Working in both R&D engineering and business development, Cang analyzed large data sets to identify the best possible product positioning and competitive advantages. Based on these data-driven decisions, Microsemi was able to design better products and create optimal product roadmaps.

Trends and the Future

Rather than looking back, as does the paleontologist, business people must have their eyes on the future. As Chang shared, “success in business goes beyond harnessing Big Data and has to do with having a vision of the future like Steve Jobs had. In daily business practices, managers heavily depend on data and make decisions based on the data; but when setting the future for the company, visionary leaders often look beyond the data!”

Request information about data analytics programs and concentrations >>

List of Business Analytics Books and Articles for Business People

If you are doing research on data analytics or business analytics you may want to look at these choices collected by the GGU Business Library. Writing a paper on this topic or finding articles about it can be difficult because it is a huge topic and much of it geared toward a technical audience. People that want to learn about data analytics from the perspective of business will find much of value here, including how to use popular applications like Google Analytics or data-visualization application Tableau (Jumpstarting Tableau was written by a professor in the master’s degree in business analytics program at GGU.). Want to dig deeper? Check out the peer-reviewed journals or technical sources on SQL and R programming on this list.



Big Data at Work by Thomas H. Davenport (2014)  
Competing on Analytics: Updated, with a New Introduction by Thomas Davenport; Jeanne Harris (2017)  
Business Analytics by Jay Liebowitz (Editor) (2014)  

Big Data: The Management Revolution (2012)

Everybody Lies: big data, new data, and what the Internet can tell us about who we really are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz  (2017)  
Predictive Analytics: the power to predict who will click, buy, lie, or die by Eric Siegel; Thomas H. Davenport (2013)  

How-To & Guides

Getting Started with Business Analytics by David Roi Hardoon; Galit Shmueli (2013)  
Data Science for Business by Foster Provost; Tom Fawcett (2013)  
Naked Statistics: stripping the dread from the data by Charles Wheelan (2013)  
 The Value of Business Analytics by Evan Stubbs (2011)
 Big Data by Bernard B. Marr (2015)  
Business analytics: methods, models, and decisions by James R. Evans (2015)  
Data Analytics: Practical guide to leveraging the power of algorithms, data science, data mining, statistics, big data, and predictive analysis to improve business, work, and life by Arthur Zhang (2017)  
A Practitioner’s Guide to Business Analytics by Randy Bartlett
Key Business Analytics: the 60+ business analysis tools every manager needs to know by Bernard Mar (2016)  
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) by Bernard Marr  (2012)  
Delivering Business Analytics: practical guidelines for best practice by Evan Stubbs; James Foster (2013)
 Google Analytics Breakthrough: From Zero to Business Impact (2016)  
The Big Book of Dashboards by Steve Wexler; Andy Cotgreave; Jeffrey Shaffer (2017)  

Programming and Databases

R Cookbook by Paul Teetor (2011)  
NoSQL Distilled: a brief guide to the emerging world of polyglot persistence by Martin J. Fowler; Pramod J. Sadalage (2012)

Data Visualization

Effective Data Visualization by Stephanie D. H. Evergreen (2017)  
Storytelling with Data: a data visualization guide for business professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic (2015)  

Machine Learning

Machine Learning: Fundamental Algorithms for Supervised and Unsupervised Learning with Real-World Applications by Joshua Chapmann (2017)  
Machine learning: the ultimate beginners guide to neural networks, algorithms, random forests and decision trees made simple by Ryan Roberts (2017) 51reibzaacl-_sx331_bo1204203200_
Machine learning: the art and science of algorithms that make sense of data by Peter A. Flach  (2012)  

Scholarly Journals

Journal of Big Data  
Journal of High Technology Management Research  
Big Data Analytics  
Machine Learning  Journal of Machine Learning cover art
MIT Sloan Management Review  


Data Analytics Skills for Business People: Video Interview with Dr. Judy Lee

Dr. Judy Lee, Chair of the new master’s degree in business analytics program, was interviewed this month at the 21st Cloud Expo in the Silicon Valley. She has spent the majority of her career in IT and software product engineering in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In this short video, she talks about GGU’s business analytics curriculum that provides foundational knowledge and also “branches out into the specific tool-sets [business people] are going to need and ties them to the business experience.”

Request information about GGU’s MS in Business Analytics >>

Learn about Data Analytics and Fraud Detection in a Free GGU Seminar

Sia Zadeh

GGU Prof. Sia Zadeh, PhD, and Navin Sinha, CEO of Double Check Consulting, are conducting a seminar that will examine the analytical tools and methods that the industry can use to discern fraudulent insurance claims from legitimate claims. Analytics for Fraud Detection: Car Injury Fraud and AML Predictive Analytics takes place on Monday, December 11, 2017 from 5:00 PM to 6:40 PM at GGU. You must register to attend in-person (Room 5224) or online.

Standard medical diagnostic processes and insurance codes can be used to file fraudulent claims in the property and casualty insurance industry. False claims cause significant distortion of the system and process, leading to revenue loss, increased cost of legitimate claims, and undue delay in the process. Normal claim processing systems often do not have the capability to tell a false claim from a legitimate claim. This requires human intervention and adds significant cost to the process.

Analysis of Big Data can often lead to the detection of unusual trends, raising flags and alerting claim administrators to potential fraud. Data analytics skills – namely application of statistical analysis to large data sets using tools and languages such as Python and R – are required for analyzing data and identifying these trends. For example, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), successfully uses data analytics to identify and prevent billions of dollars in fraudulent claims every year – as do all insurance companies.

Analytics for Fraud Detection: Car Injury Fraud and AML Predictive Analytics

Monday, December 11, 2017
5:00 PM to 6:40 PM
Room 5224 and online*

*In-person and online attendance for students: If you are registered for on-campus courses, you should participate in an on-campus seminar unless the venue is sold out. Ageno graduate students have priority for in-person registrations, but space is limited.

Golden Gate University Ranked #1 in US for Adult Learners for Second Consecutive Year

For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America’s #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings.

How GGU Was Chosen

To compile the rankings, Washington Monthly reviewed data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) survey, the department’s new College Scorecard database and the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges.

The metrics that determined GGU’s rating include:

  • ease of transfer/enrollment
  • flexibility of programs
  • services available for adult learners
  • percent of adult students (age 25+)
  • mean earnings of adult students ten years after entering college
  • loan repayment of adult students five years after entering repayment
  • tuition and fees for in-district students

Read the article in Washington Monthly >>

San Francisco is the Place to Be for Graduates Looking for a Job

A casual search of LinkedIn uncovers thousands of high-paying tech and business jobs in San Francisco. Shortages in the healthcare management and business analytics fields, combined with rapid growth in the tech sector, have driven abundant work opportunities.

Despite this promising outlook, recent graduates of any field face competition from their peers and those with greater experience. Choosing the right city to start a career can give graduates an edge in finding a great job.

It comes as no surprise that San Francisco has been named the best city in the US for recent graduates to find a job by the highly respected American Institute of Economic Research (AIER). The study looked at a number of factors, including unemployment rate, labor force participation, and how many people worked in emerging industries.

Located in San Francisco’s Financial District, Golden Gate University is situated as an ideal launch pad for graduates looking to advance a business career or break into a new one. GGU’s faculty often make a short walk – some literally across the street – to teach courses. Many currently work for international companies with a worldwide impact such as Google. Direct exposure to working professionals creates valuable networking and mentoring opportunities for students. Golden Gate University’s roots in the Bay Area business community go back more than 120 years, a history that has created a natural pipeline from the classroom to the executive suite.

“San Francisco is a great place to look to for work. There are a lot of magnificent local companies like Uber, Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Apple, Microsoft, Charles & Schwab—and the list goes on. I believe this city has opportunities for everyone, whether a graduate is looking for a career in Marketing, Human Resources, IT, Finance or Accounting. As the technology hub of the world, the number of startups growing every day.”

—Jatin Jaiswal (MBA candidate, ’18)
President Student Government Association

The Best City, Period

AIER also named San Francisco as the best city in the world for higher education when considering both quality of life and practical considerations. The survey found that the factors prospective students value most – the percentage of an educated population and diversity – are hallmarks of what locals call The City. AIER researchers also considered factors such as employment rate (a low 3.1% in San Francisco); arts and entertainment; the presence of science, technology, medical, and engineering workers; biking and walking options; and public transportation. As far as getting around, the new transit station a block from campus and its 4.5-acre rooftop park only adds to the appeal of GGU’s downtown location.

If you are interested in learning about San Francisco’s reputation and position in the business world, we invite you to watch this video with Dr. Gordon Swartz, Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business.

Request information about GGU degrees and certificates >>

Netflix Marketing Expert Talks Shop with Students in a GGU Business Analytics Class

A case study on the data analytics successes of Netflix came to life with a visit to a Business Analytics class by Andrew Massena, who serves as Senior Technical Project Manager at Netflix. Massena came by at the invitation of Tsovinar Yenokyan, a student in the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program (’18).

Massena presented on the topic of Marketing Analytics, and the class participated in a discussion about the Netflix Leading with Data initiative. Netflix uses algorithms to help predict user needs and behavior. Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of Math Programs Dr. Nabanita Talukdar (and the class instructor) observes that: “Netflix has thrived because of its superior customer data and analytics. Data analytics gives Netflix the ability to predict what customers might want and provides an understanding of consumer trends.”

What I learned in the class, such as using the R data-analysis tool, will apply to my work on day one.
–Tsovinar Yenokyan
MS, Integrated Marketing Communications (’18)

Over the last six years, Massena has managed multi-team efforts such as launches in France, Germany, Australia, Japan, and worldwide. His areas of responsibility included ensuring proper catalog encoding and deployment, certifying region-specific configurations, new language support, and App submissions. Last year, Massena managed the effort of Netflix to enable downloading of content to mobile devices. His primary job is running the Netflix NRDP (Netflix Ready Device Platform) Program. He coordinates a cross-functional effort to deliver the latest version of the SDK to device partners (Sony, Samsung, LG, and others) on an annual basis.

Tsovinar Yenokyan, Student (5th from left), Nabanita Talukdar, Instructor (6th from left), and Andrew Massena, Senior Technical Project Manager at Netflix (7th from left)

Yenokyan says: “I started my own marketing firm in Armenia, and came to the US to expand my career and learn new skills. I want to continue my marketing career, and I need to be able to analyze data no matter where I go. For example, if you have a large customer data set, you need to know exactly who you want to reach. What I learned in the class, such as using the R data-analysis tool, will apply to my work on day one.”

About the Business Analytics Course

The Business Analytics course’s focus is the practice of business-oriented analytics using statistical methods using the R statistical software. The course introduces analytical techniques applicable for solving common business problems, techniques to analyze social media, and techniques to study data on Web and app users. Students are expected to acquire practical knowledge of computing and interpreting – correlations, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, t-test, regressions analysis, cluster analysis, statistical significance, run power analysis and compute effect size. During the course, apart from learning statistics and software R, students will be introduced to the concept of Application program interface (API) in the context of data retrieval from Twitter, Facebook, and Google Analytics. Upon the course completion students expected to be able to select the right statistical method corresponding to the business problem. Compute and interpret results of a statistical analysis and produce practical business recommendations.


New Bachelor’s Degree Concentration in Data Analytics Gives Students In-Demand Skills

For over 100 years, Golden Gate University has developed innovative programs that keep pace with the rapidly changing world of business. A new undergraduate concentration in the cutting-edge field of Data Analytics will prepare the next generation of business professionals to unlock the potential of Big Data. A shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts with the understanding of how to use these data has caused salaries for data analytics professionals to exceed $100,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The demand is also broad because Data Analytics skills are relevant to virtually all industries and disciplines such as Finance, Marketing, HR, IT, Operations, Supply Chain, and more.

Real-World Skills

The Data Analytics concentration in the Bachelor of Science in Business program will give students an edge by providing hands-on experience with tools that are essential to today’s workforce. These include:

  • Dashboards such as Tableau
  • Analyzing Social Media data using R Language
  • SAS software to analyze Big Data sets
  • Data mining
  • SQL for manipulating and reporting data
  • Data extraction, transformation, and loading

After finishing each course, students can market themselves immediately to employers in a hot job market.

Beyond the Data Analytics concentration, GGU’s Bachelor of Science in Business program provides a broad foundation for success that includes training in management and other fundamental disciplines—plus opportunities to develop interpersonal effectiveness and leadership qualities.

Going Back to School?

The concentration in Data Analytics is ideal for those seeking to complete a bachelor’s degree as a working adult in their 20s, 30s, and beyond. Graduates of this program can enter the job market a step ahead of competitors who may have earned a degree earlier in life. In addition, Golden Gate University was named the #1 university for adult education in the US (Washington Monthly) because its programs are geared toward the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught either online or at the downtown San Francisco campus by faculty who are accomplished practitioners in their fields.

We invite you to take the next step in your career by filling out a request for information form.

Golden Gate University Students Present Mobile Marketing Plan to the Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors have won the 2017 NBA Championship! We’d like to take this opportunity to provide an example of the strong relationship between the Golden State Warriors and Golden Gate University – Proud University Partner of the Golden State Warriors.

In Spring Term of 2016, a team of GGU students taking a graduate-level Mobile Marketing class presented ideas to Warriors Leadership for improving the team’s mobile app (Android / iOS). The project included direct interaction with Warriors management who provided the students with an inside look at mobile marketing and the changes in the mobile technology landscape brought on by data and business analytics.

GGU instructor Goldie Aranha Viegas challenged students to develop ideas for an app based on the game-day journey of a fan – from download, to tip-off, to post-game. Like many instructors, Viegas works in the field as Senior Mobile Manager at VF Corporation: an apparel company that offers iconic brands such as Vans and Timberland. The project was a present-day scenario in which students had to provide ideas that were achievable and realistic.

“The people from the Golden State Warriors and GGU made this a journey to remember. This project got me closer to Dub Nation than I was before, and proved to be a great learning experience.”

—Farhad Kazi (MS Marketing, 2016)

Then student and now alumnus Farhad Kazi (MS Marketing, 2016) comments: “As in many GGU classes, our instructor was a working professional, which added important value by directing our project, providing mentorship, and creating an experience of real-world learning,”

The six-member team included students from China, India, Colombia, and the United States. The group had prior work experience in marketing which allowed them to create a solid marking plan in all aspects.

The group studied successful mobile campaigns launched by other companies and conducted a survey of Golden State Warriors fans. Social media features were an important consideration because Golden State Warrior fans are highly active and engaged on social platforms. The recommendation included social sharing, paid, unpaid and earned digital marketing tactics, app analytics, and fan behavior.

“Mobile Marketing had the elements of a real-world professional experience, as we had to follow a tight deadline and create a comprehensive plan,” says Kazi. “We not only had to convey information, but also give a live presentation intended to persuade a Golden State Warriors marketing executive to implement it.”

After graduation, Farhad Kazi found work as a Communication Analyst at Cisco. “The people from the Golden State Warriors and GGU made this a journey to remember. This project got me closer to Dub Nation than I was before, and proved to be a great learning experience.”

Farhad Kazi: My Experience in the Mobile Marketing Class

  • Team environment
  • Real-life challenge that is relevant to future work assignments
  • Diverse environment that helps generate ideas
  • Professional instructor providing an up-to date scenario
  • Assignments relevant to future work assignments
  • Mentoring and networking opportunities
  • Taking in to account the most recent developments in mobile marketing

Learn more about GGU’s Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and Master of Science in Marketing programs.