Professor Michael Watson and the MEM Analytics Club Invites You to Attend an Analytics Mini Boot Camp

The field of Analytics is an exciting place to be right now. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on the importance of analytics to your organization and career.

The MEM Analytics Club has put together an Analytics Mini Boot Camp on Saturday Apr 26, from 12:30-3:30 in L211 Tech on the Evanston Campus. This event is free and is open to all MEM students and MEM alumni.

This will be a great way to learn what the field of Analytics is all about as well as dive into some of the new technology being used. We are assuming you have no prior knowledge of analytics, but content will also be provided for those who have studied it before.

The rough agenda:

  • Introduction to the field of Analytics and machine learning
  • Introduction to R (one of the open-source tools that is popular with data scientists)
  • Discussion of machine learning algorithms (we’ll hit a few of the basic ones and also talk about some ways to extend the basic algorithms)

This short course is being sponsored by Opex Analytics and we’ll have a few of their data scientists (graduates of NU’s MSiA program) help lead some of the more detailed sessions.

Pizza will be provided, and we would like to have an accurate count, so if you plan to attend, please contact either Jennifer Wei (, Chris Rader (, or Professor Watson ( We hope to see you there!

Via PriSim: Patent Trolls… Are They Good or Bad for Business?

When you’re setting up a business, you’re going to make allowances for any number of different costs, but here’s a cost you probably haven’t budgeted for: trolls.

We’re not talking about trolls like the one from “The Billy Goats Gruff,” or even the types of trolls who hang out on internet message boards, though the trolls in question do share a couple of pertinent attributes: they’re annoying (if not downright unpleasant), and they will cost you money. “Patent trolls,” or patent assertion entities, are businesses that make frivolous claims that a patent they own has been infringed upon. These trolls then offer the targeted company a choice: pay a license fee, or pay to go to court. Either way, it’s going to cost you.

For example, in 2011, patent trolls cost the U.S. economy $29 billion. The following year, patent trolls sued Apple 44 separate times. However, big businesses are not the only targets. One of the most notorious patent trolls, MPHJ Technology Investments, has been sending out thousands of emails to small businesses demanding $1000 per worker for violating patents on networked “scan-to-email” functions.

These patent trolls sound pretty bad, right? Well, an article in Forbes claims that patent trolls are actually a good thing, saying that these trolls help protect inventors from patent thieves by purchasing ideas the inventor would not otherwise be able to develop and/or market. What do you think?

PriSim Business War Games Inc. runs and designs customized business simulations that teach decision-makers about business, strategy, finance, and leadership.

The 2nd Annual Accenture and Northwestern University City of Chicago Analytics Competition Begins!



The 2nd Annual AcceIMG_9258nture and Northwestern University City of Chicago Analytics Competition kicked off on Friday April 4th with an information and registration session hosted by the Student Analytics Advisory Board and the MEM Program. The event was well attended and would-be competitors had the opportunity to learn more about the competition from guest speakers Tom Schenk, the Director of Analytics and Performance for the City of Chicago, and Charles Nebolsky (pictured above) and Sara Taylor of Accenture.

This year, competitors will analyze and interpret the expanded 311 information data set and detailed energy consumption data recently released by the City of Chicago. Students must compete in groups of two or three and work together to generate a practical real-world solution to the questions or problems posed by the available data. Each team will submit its materials for evaluation to a panel of judges who will then select three Finalist Teams to present their findings in person. The winning team will be awarded a cash prize of $1000.

Registration closes on April 13, and the competition officially begins on April 11, 2014. More information regarding the rules and regulations for this year’s competition can be obtained by downloading the following files:

Northwestern City of Chicago Analytics Competition

Accenture and Northwestern University City of Chicago Analytics Competition

Happy Monday! Enjoy these new pictures from Industry Night

And in case you missed it, the full-length video is below!

Please spread the word: MEM Information Session at the Merchandise Mart!

If any of you have colleagues or friends who may be interested in pursuing our MEM degree, please invite them to join our director, Professor Mark Werwath, at the Merchandise Mart (in the new Motorola Mobility space) on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Along with faculty and current students, Dr. Werwath will be talking about the program in depth and answering questions. The session is completely free (and attendees who decide to apply get their application fee waived!).

All the information needed to register may be found below. Registration closes on April 3, 2014 at midnight.

This is a great opportunity for anyone who has been interested in learning more about Northwestern University’s Master of Engineering Management Program but has not yet been able to make it to one of our Evanston information sessions!

Registration link:

Anyone who is interested may also register via the MEM website, on the main page:

Northwestern just upped its entrepreneurship game: introducing brand new start-up incubator Garage

Two Northwestern trustees have donated $2 million to the university to help fund a new on-campus incubator called the “Garage.” The space, modeled after similar labs at Harvard and Stanford, is meant to help raise innovation and entrepreneurship at Northwestern and in the Midwest region to new heights.


Entrepreneurship is a hot topic in business, higher education, and engineering, so MEM students should certainly be excited about this new development. The Garage will be another opportunity for engineers to explore their entrepreneurial side while still in a learning environment, like in the NUvention classes in the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship.

In the end, it’s the students that will make the incubator a success. So far, NUvention alumni are doing pretty well. If you haven’t started filling out your MEM application yet, this might be a good time.

You can learn more about the new the Garage here and the donation here.

ONLINE INFORMATION SESSION: March 25, 2014 at 5PM Central! Help us get the word out!

NU_140213-GUY KAWASAKI-177

Please spread the word to your colleagues who may be interested in pursuing our MEM degree, that our director, Professor Mark Werwath, will be hosting a free, online information session at 5 PM (Central Time) on Tuesday, March 25th. All that interested parties have to do is register (information below) and then tune in for the webinar. The confirmation email will provide the link for them to use to view the session.

This is a great opportunity for anyone who has been interested in learning more about Northwestern University’s Master of Engineering Management Program but has not yet been able to make it to one of the live sessions!

Registration link:

Anyone who is interested may also register via the MEM website, on the main page:

Thanks for the support!

First TED Event at NU this April

The first TEDx event will bring together alumni and faculty speakers to address diverse topics, like “Technology, Crossing Paths and Romantic Compatibility” and “No Child Is Born Bad.” The event will take place April 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum and will be streamed live in Fisk Hall 217 with a reception at the end of the event. Take advantage of this special opportunity as a Northwestern student, get inspired, and maybe even learn something!

See more at:  and check out a few of our favorite TedTalks below:


Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff

David Keith: A critical look at geoengineering against climate change

Bertrand Piccard: My solar-powered adventure

Surprise! Interview with Dr. Baiocchi about Leadership through Unexpected Events

(Image courtesy of Amazon:

(Image courtesy of Amazon:

There are countless variables that can produce unpleasant surprises in today’s business world. Whether it’s the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008, new regulation, the weather, or a competitor’s move, being ready for the unexpected is part of the job-description of leaders and managers.

Dr. Dave Baiocchi (bi-O-key) of the RAND Corporation has written a book, Surprise! From CEOs to Navy SEALs: How a Select Group of Professionals Prepare for and Respond to the Unexpected, examining how professionals in various settings respond to surprises. Click here to read a summary. PriSim interviewed Dr. Baiocchi about how a business leader can become better at managing surprise:

1.   “When surprise really matters, rely on your most experienced personnel. Experience is the best insurance policy to mitigate the negative effects caused by surprise. We found this to be true across all of the professions that we interviewed from the NFL coach, to the SWAT team captain, to former ambassadors. Experience is what allows professionals to quickly identify and initiate a response to an unfolding surprise before it can escalate into a bigger problem.

2.     Build a network of ‘surprise sensors’ within your organization. We found that business leaders, in particular, usually are not the first person in their organization to detect an unexpected event. Successful business leaders have a network of trusted colleagues at all levels of the organization who can alert C-level leadership when something unexpected is detected.

3.     Recognize that the biggest surprises are likely to come from outside your field of view and take steps to prepare for this. While this may sound unintuitive at first, most business leaders spend a lot of time assessing and understanding known threats or competitors, so the biggest surprises sometimes come from previously unknown or unidentified directions. One way to mitigate this risk is to conduct exercises that probe a range of future outcomes based upon third party actions. Exercises like this are helpful in identifying the ‘surprise space’ and mitigating third party risks.”

As always, we welcome your ideas and comments

PriSim Business War Games Inc. runs and designs customized business simulations that teach decision-makers about business, strategy, finance, and leadership.

Prof. McNeeley featured in February Wholesaler


Read a teaser for NUMEM Professor Don McNeeley’s article below and click the link here to read the rest of the column on the Wholesaler website.

Excerpted from “Minimum wage and the one-eyed man”

By Donald R. McNeeley, Ph.D.

“A given is also known as an axiomatic: a concept, theory, or principle that is widely accepted, has withstood the test of time, and is no longer debated. It is something universally embraced and accepted. One such truth is the fundamental law of supply and demand. Absent intervention, is it not a most efficient reality? Of course the government did not get the memo on that absence of intervention thing. If the stock market closes up, that simply indicates there were more buyers than sellers on that particular day. If the stock market closes down, there were more sellers than buyers. Like most things, wages are determined by supply and demand. If all the brick layers are employed and I need a patio, how do I get the brick layer to leave your house and come to mine… I pay more! There are more general laborers than neurosurgeons, thus the pay difference.”

Don’t miss Prof. McNeeley’s featured videos on the Wholesaler as well.


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