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Head of Global Academic Programs on Building Data Degrees From the Ground Up


Rich Rodts, IBM

Rich Rodts, IBM

IBM is one of many corporations in constant need of smart data scientists. But unlike most firms, IBM has the ability to nurture their development before they enter the workforce. IBM partners with academic programs across the globe, and often designs initiatives in conjunction with clients, such as GM, who also in need of analytics and data staff.

Rich Rodts, IBM’s manager-solution specialists and global academic programs at IBM, guides that process.

“If we need to grow these skills, if we need to build this bench so to speak, we need to work with academia to create those individuals who are going to be the next generation of data scientists,” said Mr. Rodts.

Mr. Rodts has overseen an IBM integration with GM at Michigan State University on a program in which IBM assisted in implementing technology and business coaching. Such programs, managed by IBM, usually last around eight weeks. Another IBM collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline at Yale led to jobs at the pharma giant for two students from the Ivy League institution.

“It provides a very unique experience for the student where the student is gaining that knowledge but also learning to engage the client,” said Mr. Rodts, noting that the programs often involve students interviewing business clients and discussing their data needs. “It literally does become a consulting project.”

These initiatives are intended to foster real-world experience for students, rather than mere experimentation in an academic vacuum. For Glaxo, students worked with the firm’s proprietary data. “It has to be real data and it can’t be looked at as an experiment,” said Mr. Rodts. …Read Full Article on

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Blog Publisher / Head of Data Science Search

Founder & Head of Data Science Search at Starbridge Partners, LLC.