Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
December 1–3, 2015 • Singapore

Data-savvy leaders of the future: Designing an applied analytics course for MBAs

Hallie Benjamin (Accenture)
2:20pm–3:00pm Wednesday, 12/02/2015
Data-driven Business
Location: 331 Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ***..
(3.20, 5 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

No prerequisite knowledge is required, but several concepts will help make the talk more interesting: - Awareness of the role education and curriculum reform can play in addressing skills gaps - An appreciation for data-driven decision making - Experience working with data scientists, or business strategists, or both!


As the business enablement lead, Hallie Benjamin’s role on the Data Insights team at Accenture Technology Labs is simple: help business leaders better understand data science, to in turn help them make data-driven decisions. When she learned about the Data Science initiative at the University of California, Berkeley, it clicked – why not start at the beginning, and teach that understanding from the ground-up?

The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley approached Accenture looking for a partner to help build the next generation of data-savvy business leaders, as part of the university’s Data Science Initiative. Hallie’s strategic focus and love for academia made her an excellent fit – over the next twelve months she would work with a multidisciplinary team of professors, data scientists, and business students to design the Applied Learning Course in Data Science.

Haas wanted to answer a series of key questions in building a data-savvy cohort, including, “how can business students excel in an increasingly data-driven world?” Hallie developed a framework based on the way her team in Tech Labs worked – one that had served her well – pulling both techies and strategists to understand and solve a problem together.

This served as the foundation for the program’s Applied Analytics Course. It brings together the university’s incredible technical talent – from graduate programs across the Information and Engineering Schools – with world-leading business students, to jointly shape and solve strategic, impactful, real world problems, through the lens of data and analytics. Business brings the problem framing, while tech brings the analytical insight and power… and of course, they all have a lot of fun.

In her talk, Hallie will walk through her experience building and delivering this program with the Haas School of Business. She will touch on lessons learned for helping technical and non-technical teams work together, and will articulate her vision for the downstream impact the partnership with UC Berkeley will have on business. Ultimately, she believes that data science must play a role in driving business strategy – one cohort at a time.

Photo of Hallie Benjamin

Hallie Benjamin


As the Business Enablement Lead for the Data Insights group at Accenture Technology Labs, Hallie is focused on making analytics and data science more accessible to internal and client leadership. She also runs the Accenture-University of California, Berkeley Data & Analytics Partnership, which aims to build the next generation of data-savvy business leaders. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Hallie currently lives in San Francisco. She holds a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Toronto, and a BA Economics and Political science from McGill University.