Monthly Archives: March 2017

Do You Always Wanted to Know About Machine Learning

Machine learning is widely considered to be one of today’s hottest fields. But many of today’s students are unaware of what machine learning is and why it matters so much. Wondering whether you’ve got a future in machine learning? Here’s a closer look at this increasingly important area, along with why it matters so much.

What is Machine Learning?

SAS defines machine learning as “a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building. Using algorithms that iteratively learn from data, machine learning allows computers to find hidden insights without being explicitly programmed where to look.”

Princeton University lecturer Rob Schapire puts it in simpler terms: “Machine learning studies computer algorithms for learning to do stuff. We might, for instance, be interested in learning to complete a task, or to make accurate predictions, or to behave intelligently. The learning that is being done is always based on some sort of observations or data, such as examples, direct experience, or instruction. So in general, machine learning is about learning to do better in the future based on what was experienced in the past.”

Why Machine Learning Matters

With the power of machine learning, says SAS, “it’s possible to quickly and automatically produce models that can analyze bigger, more complex data and deliver faster, more accurate results – even on a very large scale. And by building precise models, an organization has a better chance of identifying profitable opportunities – or avoiding unknown risks.” This leads to improved decision-making capabilities independent of human intervention with applications in a broad range of industries, including financial services, government, healthcare, marketing and sales, oil and gas, and transportation.

Machine learning is so promising, in fact, that Business Insider recently declared it to be “a revolution as big as the internet or personal computers.” With a track record of world-changing developments including everything from Amazon product recommendations to Google’s self-driving car, machine learning has already changed the world and how we live in it.

But that’s all just the beginning, according to experts like computer scientist and author of “The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake our World” Pedro Domingos, who told BI, “There were two stages to the information age. One stage is where we had to program computers, and the second stage, which is now beginning, is where computers can program themselves by looking at data.”

Meanwhile, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt forecasts that machine learning “will be the basis and fundamentals of every successful huge IPO win in five years.”

Machine learning is also lauded for its potential to improve customer care by automating certain tasks. Machines don’t always outperform humans — especially in matters of high-touch decision making — but in improving both efficiency and efficacy where technology prevails, machine learning can free people up to focus on what they do best.

And while we often think of machine learning as future terrain, it’s also happening all around us, including in the higher education space as a means of improving teaching and learning. Moving forward, it will support unprecedented personalized learning for use by everyone from students to advisors. In other words, with a background in machine learning, you can not only change the world, you can also apply what you know much closer to home.

 

A Master’s Degree in Management

If you’re looking for a career push in the business world consider a Master in Management, or MIM.  You’ll study at a top-notch program with an international focus—and you don’t need all the work experience typically required for admission to an MBA program.  Looking for great degree experience that offers hands-on experience?  With a MIM, you’ll get it.  Many internationally-focused MIM programs partner with global businesses to give you hands-on, real-world experience right out of the gates.  Ready to learn more?  Let’s take a look at five must-do’s to prepare yourself to go get that MIM.

1. Assess Your Starting Position.

Figure out what you want from a MIM degree—is there a management specialty that interests you?  Have you researched MIM programs?  Does your undergraduate degree match the prerequisites for acceptance?  Do you need to take a prep course or other short-term course to fill in any gaps for the entrance requirement? Do you need to take exams, like the GMAT before you can apply? Make sure you have the right qualifications for the program of your choice before starting the application process.

This is particularly important if you are considering overseas MIM programs. Apart from academic qualifications, you’ll need to assess your language skills. Is the course taught in your native language or another?  If you need to brush up on language skills, now is the time.

Consider your academic starting point, too.  Make sure you take a diagnostic and figure out where you are academically before you start.  Knowing where your strengths—and your weaknesses—are will show you where you need to focus and where you need to improve.

This is the time to fill in those gaps.  Need some help?  Contact the admissions office for the various MIM programs you’ve selected.  Someone there will steer you in the right direction. Or check out this handy tool that helps you compare and choose the right school.

Another strategy?  If you’re currently an undergraduate, make an appointment with your academic advisor—you won’t regret it.

Once you’ve figured out where you are in relation to where you want to be, you’re well on your way to that MIM.

2. Gain Work Experience

Unlike the MBA, work experience is not critical to a MIM.  However, it certainly doesn’t hurt.  Between one and three years can increase your chances of getting into a program of your choice.  Don’t underestimate the power of the internship, either.  Strong internship experiences, obtained during or after your undergraduate studies, can be just as impressive as a year or two of work under your belt.

What are the benefits?  You’ll have a taste of real-world experience—and with experience comes wisdom.

3. Top-Up Your Extracurricular Activities

This is your chance to shine, at least on paper—and to give an admissions committee real insight into your character.  Perhaps just as critical, if not more so, your extracurricular activities count.  Why?  They reflect your interests and passions.  What you do outside of work and school matters.

Are you interested in sports?  Showcase your interests and abilities on your resume.  If you were involved in academic or university associations, list them—and make sure to note whether you held leadership roles in those organizations.  Volunteer work is also a fantastic extracurricular activity to showcase. Even hobbies, like stamp collecting, yoga or woodworking will make a positive impression on the admissions board.  The key is to make sure your extracurricular activities give a sense of your interests and abilities, but leave an admissions counselor at your selected MIM program wanting to know more about you.

Gigs for Job Hunters

The average college grad takes about six months to land a job after college, depending on factors ranging from the field of work to the current job market, according to The Balance. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to eat and have a roof over your head during this time, a predicament which can be both stressful and scary — particularly as your bank account balance creeps closer and closer to zero.

However, just because you haven’t landed your dream job yet doesn’t mean you can’t earn enough to support yourself while you look. In fact, a number of part-time and decent-paying side gigs are out there, including the following six picks:

1. Interpreter/Translator

The benefits of speaking multiple languages are many. Here’s one more to add to the list: You can work as an interpreter (converting spoken or sign language) or translator (converting written language) and earn decent money doing so.

Given our increasingly global society, demand for people with these skills continues to grow. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of growth for translators and interpreters is 29 percent — significantly faster than the average. And while some jobs in this area will have experience requirements, others will offer short-term or on-the-job training if your language skills meet their needs.

If you’re looking for flexibility, meanwhile, you can’t go wrong working in this up-and-coming field. Says the BLS, “Interpreters work in schools, hospitals, courtrooms, and conference centers. Some work for translation companies or individual organizations, and many translators also work from home. Self-employed interpreters and translators frequently have variable work schedules. Most interpreters and translators work full time during regular business hours.”

2. Copy Editor

Have a way with the written word? If so, copy writing may be the perfect fit for your part-time needs. So what do copy editors do, exactly? Explains Houston Chronicle, “A copy editor is responsible for an initial round of proofreading to ensure that written text is concise, consistent and both grammatically and factually correct. Those in this position also ensure that each sentence is easy to read and that concepts expressed are in a logical, sequential manner. The position typically involves working at a magazine, newspaper, website, corporate communications department or advertising agency. It is a key part of an editorial team comprised of writers and editors that may also include proofreaders and fact-checkers.”

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, you’ll also need a solid grasp of grammar and knowledge of one or more accepted style guides, depending on the industry in which you’re working.

An added bonus? At an hourly rate of just over $18, copy editing landed a spot on Business Insider’s roundup of highest-paying side gigs for in-between times.

3. Tutor

At $17.28/hour, tutoring also claims a spot on BI’s list of best-paying side jobs, and just so happens to be right up the recent college grad’s alley: After all, you’re sporting all that newly acquired knowledge, why not put it to work? As one recent English Lit grad and current law student told The Guardian of her tutoring work, “It’s a really good earner and perfect if you’re doing a time intensive course as you earn more than you would per hour doing something like waitressing.”

Concludes The Guardian of this part-time path, “The tutoring industry is expanding and the student body — with its expensive education, free time and typically empty bank accounts — is a rich source for potential new tutors.”

Meanwhile, online tutoring has opened up new opportunities for aspiring tutors regardless of where you live.

4. Tour Guide

Know your city inside and out? If so, there are plenty of opportunities to share your local love by working as a tour guide. Check out Tours By Locals, Vayable, and Shiroube, companies which connect locals with travelers looking for more authentic experiences while on the road. Weekend work is plentiful in this field, meaning you’ll have plenty of free time on weekdays for interviews and other job hunting-related tasks.