MIT Symposium On Data Talent

The Institute’s director Dr. Michael Rappa was in Cambridge this week to participate in the annual MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium. Dr. Rappa moderated a discussion with a distinguished group of financial industry executives that included Lynda Abend (Chief Data Officer at John Hancock Financial Services), Kelsey Calhoun, (Director of Operational Analytics and Reporting at Liberty Mutual), John Pyhtila, Ph.D. (Head of Analytics at Cigna), and Gopal Subramanian (Senior Vice President at Fidelity Investments).

The four panelists agreed the shortage of data savvy professionals continues to impact businesses seeking to draw valuable insights from their data. But organizations are coping through various means including: well-honed strategies for recruiting new talent; cultivating pipelines by working closely with universities; internal programs aimed at talent development and retention; and external outreach to enhance the visibility of the opportunities for data professionals in the financial services sector. The panelists also agreed, when it comes to recruiting and retention, it’s less about compensation than it is about the recognition that comes from engagement with challenging problems that impact business performance.

“These are organizations with tens of thousands of employees and tens of millions of customers,” said Dr. Rappa. “They are real businesses with proven products and services that are critically important to the financial security of countless people everyday. They’re swimming data and have incredible opportunities to offer those who are passionate about analytics.”

MIT CDO Symposium Panelists: Abend, Calhoun, Pyhtila, and Subramanian