Data Analytics Skills Needed in PSM Internships

Peiru Wu

Director, PSM in Industrial Mathematics, Michigan State University

The Professional Science Master's (PSM) programs in the new graduate direction with an opportunity of rewarding career paths have been existing for over fifteen years. It is evident that one of the major successes of long term running PSM programs is their strong connections with local companies from regular industrial projects to internships for students, which is in turn to help fostering relationships between academia and industry, furthermore, to lead potential collaborations in the future. The PSM is intended for mathematics and science graduates bent on careers at the intersection of science and management as the 21st century MBA. In the era of big data, companies started to think that success will demand not only new skills employees should have but also new perspectives business models should have in such a new climate. Similarly, PSM programs should think how to prepare students not only to learn and access to more data from class to real world projects but also update and equip with basic data mining concepts and skills. In fact, data science climate is urging PSM programs to train and produce more data scientists instead of data analysts. The goal of the PSM in Industrial Mathematics at MSU is to produce generalized problem solvers of great versatility, capable of moving within an organization from task to task with two-year training in mathematics, cognates plus business components, which is our long term direction to continually develop professional workforce for industries. We have been alerted there are new challenge and obligation for PSM program in the new era. One of our program components is to work on real-world problems from local industries and governments every spring and we have a history of ~85 successfully completed projects up to date. In the past there were many projects proposed by industrial sponsoring companies that had potential data mining features. Now companies are proposing projects to directly seek for data mining solutions because we are facing the future of data science market. With no doubt it provides our industrial mathematics students with a practical platform to develop and sharpen data analytics skills step by step, at the same time, it also enables the students to promptly verify the data mining results in the company expert system. On the other hand, our students are well prepared with data analytics skills to fit into intern and/ or full time job after the project experience. This presentation will talk about various aspects on how to prepare students with data analytics skills in PSM training program, therefore, to help students to meet industrial new expectation, where there is a tremendous opportunity for PSM internships and/or employees to work on the projects with prospects and challenges on data mining tasks in their bright future.