A blog by Rob J Hyndman 

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New jobs in business analytics at Monash

Published on 4 May 2014

We have an excit­ing new ini­tia­tive at Monash Uni­ver­sity with some new posi­tions in busi­ness ana­lyt­ics. This is part of a plan to strengthen our research and teach­ing in the data science/​computational sta­tis­tics area. We are hop­ing to make mul­ti­ple appoint­ments, at junior and senior lev­els. These are five-​​year appoint­ments, but we hope that the posi­tions will con­tinue after that if we can secure suit­able funding.

What is busi­ness analytics?

You can think of “busi­ness ana­lyt­ics” as the appli­ca­tion of data analy­sis to busi­ness prob­lems. For exam­ple, analysing point-​​of-​​sale data, or cus­tomer churn, or fraud iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, or credit risk analy­sis.  We might have called it “com­pu­ta­tional sta­tis­tics”, “data sci­ence”, or “machine learn­ing”, or “oper­a­tions research”, or even “big data”. But we are part of the Monash fac­ulty of busi­ness and eco­nom­ics, and our Dean was keen on the name “Busi­ness Ana­lyt­ics”, and since he pays the bills, his view pre­vailed. I’m not fussed what it gets calls, I’m more inter­ested in good analy­sis applied to inter­est­ing prob­lems, regard­less of the name used to describe the activity.

When I men­tioned these jobs to Terry Speed last week, he made a painful noise and said “I guess I might get used to the name”. He would have pre­ferred the word “sta­tis­tics” in there some­where. When I attended an Oper­a­tions Research con­fer­ence last year, I heard sim­i­lar com­plaints from OR peo­ple about their dis­ci­pline get­ting left out in dis­cus­sions about data sci­ence prob­lems in busi­ness. My view is that any­one doing data analy­sis involv­ing busi­ness prob­lems should be aware of the use­ful per­spec­tives pro­vided by sta­tis­tics and oper­a­tions research, and be famil­iar with the many tools and mod­els that have arisen in those com­mu­ni­ties. But they should also be aware of per­spec­tives and tools that have arisen out of the machine learn­ing com­mu­nity. I have long thought that the name “data sci­ence” use­fully cov­ers every­thing to do with data analy­sis and we would be bet­ter off if the var­i­ous groups joined forces under that title. But that was too gen­eral a term for these jobs as we do have a spe­cific busi­ness focus, and hence we ended up with “Busi­ness Analytics”.

Who should apply?

The peo­ple we are seek­ing will be able to teach sub­jects on data visu­al­iza­tion and sta­tis­ti­cal learn­ing, and do research in related areas. They may have a back­ground in machine learn­ing, sta­tis­tics, econo­met­rics, actu­ar­ial sci­ence, oper­a­tions research, or any other sim­i­lar dis­ci­pline involv­ing the analy­sis of lots of data.

Some real expe­ri­ence with data analy­sis prob­lems aris­ing in busi­ness would be very help­ful. That might mean hav­ing worked full-​​time as a data sci­en­tist, or hav­ing worked as a sta­tis­ti­cal con­sul­tant, or hav­ing a high rank­ing as a kag­gle competitor.

Every­one appointed to an aca­d­e­mic posi­tion at Monash Uni­ver­sity is expected to have an excel­lent research record, or have demon­strated the poten­tial to be an excel­lent researcher. So we will be look­ing for peo­ple whose CVs list good papers in top journals.

Finally, the suc­cess­ful can­di­dates will teach sub­jects on busi­ness ana­lyt­ics. So the abil­ity to be an inspir­ing lec­turer and clear com­mu­ni­ca­tor is important.

We would like to appoint peo­ple at junior and senior lev­els. Any­one appointed at the level of pro­fes­sor or asso­ciate pro­fes­sor will be expected to already have a strong inter­na­tional pro­file in the area, and be able to pro­vide lead­er­ship in busi­ness ana­lyt­ics. Any­one appointed at the level of lec­turer will prob­a­bly have only recently com­pleted a PhD (or will be com­plet­ing in the near future), and be just start­ing an aca­d­e­mic career.

What hap­pens after five years?

We cur­rently have fund­ing for these posi­tions for five years. Obvi­ously we don’t want to start a new ini­tia­tive, gen­er­ate lots of activ­ity and inter­est, and then have every­one leave because we don’t have fur­ther fund­ing. So one of the first tasks of the more senior appoint­ments will be to con­sider how to con­tinue the busi­ness ana­lyt­ics ini­tia­tive beyond the first five years.

Why come to Monash?

I joined the Depart­ment of Econo­met­rics and Busi­ness Sta­tis­tics in 1998 and I’ve enjoyed work­ing here so much that I’ve never left. After more than 16 years, I can’t imag­ine find­ing a bet­ter place to work. It is a won­der­fully friendly, sup­port­ive, stim­u­lat­ing and encour­ag­ing environment.

It is also a place with a lot of fan­tas­tic peo­ple to inter­act with. We are unique in hav­ing strong research in econo­met­rics, sta­tis­tics and actu­ar­ial sci­ence. The com­bi­na­tion of per­spec­tives makes it very inter­est­ing and I’ve learned a lot from being part of a group con­tain­ing many peo­ple with dif­fer­ent train­ing and back­ground from me.

Although rank­ings are always a lit­tle dodgy, they pro­vide a rough guide to rel­a­tive strengths. Accord­ing to IDEAS rank­ings (which cov­ers eco­nom­ics), we are ranked:

The QS world rank­ings of uni­ver­si­ties place Monash 24th in eco­nom­ics and econo­met­rics, and in the top 100 in sta­tis­tics and oper­a­tional research.

How do I apply?

The offi­cial adver­tise­ment pro­vides details on how to apply. In your appli­ca­tion, it would be help­ful if you indi­cated what level (B, C, D or E) you thought you were most suit­able for. If you have spe­cific ques­tions about the job, you can email me. But please don’t send me your CV ask­ing for my com­ments. We expect a lot of appli­ca­tions and I can­not pro­vide per­sonal com­ments on indi­vid­u­als. This post should answer most ques­tions about who is suit­able, and what we are look­ing for. If you think you fit the descrip­tion here, then please apply.



I’ve posted answers to some ques­tions about these jobs.


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2 Comments  comments 
  • http://www.r-statistics.com/ Tal Galili

    Hi Rob,

    Regard­ing Terry’s reac­tion, it sounds like some­thing my adviser (Yoav Ben­jamini) would also say…

    Regard­ing the job — you might wish to also pub­lish it here:

    It takes less than 6 sec to sign up (with gmail/​facebook), and the site gets around 250 views a day + 2000 views once every two weeks when I push it to r-​​bloggers.


    • http://robjhyndman.com/ Rob J Hyndman

      Thanks Tal. I’ve sub­mit­ted a job advert on r​-users​.com