Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler

Dates: There are no upcoming dates scheduled for this program

Learn what big data is, how to get it, and how to use data about individual behavior to elevate a company’s level of performance. Big data—especially data about individual behavior and how it is impacted by interaction with others—gives valuable insight into a variety of business scenarios. The frameworks taught in this program constitute a new kind of "R&D" that draws on the strengths of digitization to speed innovation, increase customer loyalty, and improve execution.

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Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler
Certificate Track: Management and Leadership
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Tuition: $3,300 (excluding accommodations)
Program Days (for certificate credit): 2

"In the past, IT worked primarily with finance to run reports, which were often used to justify decisions leaders had already made. That is changing with big data. Managers are analyzing enormous data sets to discover new patterns and running controlled experiments to test hypothesis. Decision making that was once based on hunches and intuition is now driven by data and knowledge."

Erik Brynjolfsson



Today, businesses can measure their activities and customer relationships with unprecedented precision. As a result, they are awash with data. This is particularly evident in the digital economy, where clickstream data give precisely targeted and real-time insights into consumer behavior, but leading edge companies in every industry are using big data to replace intuition and guesswork.

This new executive program prepares you to understand and lead this revolution in your organizations by:

  • Collecting many different forms of information gathered from inside and outside your organization
  • Developing new knowledge from that information, for example, discovering patterns of customer behavio
  • Using this information in a collaborative way to improve both productivity and strategic decision making in real time


Collectively, the practices taught in this program constitute a new kind of "R&D" that draws on the strengths of digitization to speed innovation, increase customer loyalty, and improve execution.


Learning Experience
Based on research in MIT’s Media Lab and the MIT Center for Digital Business, Professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Sandy Pentland will explore how big data changes the way IT interacts with the rest of the organization, cutting across business units and functions to create new value, and how it can have a huge impact on business results. They draw on the world-leading research that has made the big data revolution possible.


Through examples, case studies, and discussion in buzz groups, participants will learn how organizations are using big data effectively in fields as diverse as marketing, retailing, branches of government and healthcare. The program will encourage participants to apply these concepts in the context of their own organizations—including defining problems that could benefit from the application of big data concepts, brainstorming sources of data, and designing experiments to collect and analyze data in ways that are acceptable to customers—to create new value.


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Alex 'Sandy' Pentland is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in a organizational engineering and mobile computing.