Michael Rappa is the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Analytics and a member of the faculty in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University. As head of the Institute, he leads the nation’s first Master of Science in Analytics as its originator and principal architect. Under his leadership, the Institute has granted degrees to over 1,300 aspiring data scientists. Before joining NC State as Distinguished University Professor, for nine years he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Rappa has over 35 years of experience working across academic disciplines at the nexus between management and computing. An accomplished researcher and instructor, his passion is to bring an entrepreneurial and forward-thinking mindset to innovation in higher learning. His current role is to prepare a new generation of data savvy professionals for leadership in a digital world. Since launching the Institute in 2006, the Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) has quickly become one of the largest and most selective degree programs on campus, and its students among the most sought-after and highly compensated graduates of the university. The Institute is widely recognized for producing top-notch analytics professionals—data scientists, analysts and consultants—and its success has spawned over 400 similar degree programs producing 20,000 graduates annually at 300 universities nationwide. Financially, over 17 years the MSA program has accrued $43 million in tuition revenue and $7.5 million in gifts for the University. Each year its alumni create over $140 million in payroll, conservatively estimated, with half contributing to North Carolina’s economy. An annual survey of graduating students consistently ranks the Institute as the University’s top-performing academic unit based on twelve quality metrics and four satisfaction metrics. In 2016, the Institute was named one of three finalists by INFORMS for the UPS George D. Smith Prize.
A study published in 2006 in the British journal R&D Management identified Dr. Rappa as a leading scholar in the field of technology management, ranking him in the 99th percentile among 9,000 authors in terms of research productivity in top journals over a period of 50 years. His work has garnered honorable mentions on three occasions as outstanding contributions to the field, and his early influential writing on Internet business models continues to be widely read and frequently cited.
Earlier in his career Dr. Rappa was perhaps best known as creator of Managing the Digital Enterprise, an award-winning Web site devoted to the study of management in the digital world. Begun in 1999, originally for a course he taught, the site was adopted by hundreds of instructors and reached millions of learners around the world—a precursor to massive open online courses (or MOOCs) a decade later. An early and vocal advocate for open courseware, he formed the Open Courseware Lab to promote openly accessible educational resources on the Web. It was there he and his students created OpenSeminar, an innovative open source platform for hosting collaborative courseware. Dr. Rappa presided as general co-chair at the 19th International World Wide Web Conference, the premiere annual gathering of the Web research community, and co-chaired TechAmerica Foundation’s Big Data Commission. He served on the Board of Directors of the Digital Analytics Association and is currently a member of the INFORMS Analytics Certification Board. Dr. Rappa regularly advises schools worldwide looking to develop analytics and data science programs and is frequently serves as a peer reviewer on degree proposals. He was a member of the Analytics Curriculum Advisory Group for The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the governing body for accrediting business schools worldwide.
Dr. Rappa has been recognized on several occasions for his contributions to teaching, research and service to the community. He is a recipient of the Award for Graduate Teaching Excellence, the Outstanding Extension Service Award, and the Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology. He is also winner of the MERLOT Award for Exemplary Online Learning; a four-time recipient of IBM Faculty Research Awards; and was twice named a finalist for the Epton Prize by the editors of R&D Management.
Dr. Rappa graduated with honors from Union College, a small private institution in upstate New York. As a first-generation college student who worked his way through with a combination of odd jobs and student loans, he knows firsthand the challenge students face today. It fuels his passion and dedication for creating a degree that produces real value for his students.
Soon after college, Dr. Rappa began his teaching career at the University of Minnesota, where he earned a doctorate in 1987. He subsequently moved from Minneapolis to Cambridge after accepting an invitation to join the faculty in the Sloan School of Management at MIT.
In the News
04/11/2016 – INFORMS Names Institute Prize Finalist
06/23/2015 – Director Tapped for AACSB Advisory Group
01/01/2015 – Director Named to Endowed Position
10/22/2014 – Keynote Address at the Analytics Conference – VIDEO
04/22/2014 – Director Elected to Association Board
11/15/2013 – Director speaks at MIT Big Data Conference
10/29/2013 – Director speaks at SUNY Big Data Conference – VIDEO
08/26/2013 – InformationWeek’s Big Data Profile: Michael Rappa
07/17/2013 – Director Delivers Keynote Lecture MIT Gathering – VIDEO
05/03/2013 – Director Speaks at White House Event
04/24/2013 – Director Testifies at Congressional Hearing – VIDEO
04/11/2013 – Data Science: The Numbers of Our Lives
02/06/2013 – Director Speaks at NIH Symposium – VIDEO
10/24/2012 – Q&A: What’s needed to get a big data job?
10/08/2012 – Big Data Commission Releases Final Report – VIDEO
06/07/2012 – Director named to Big Data Commission
06/04/2012 – Could Data Scientist Be Your Next Job?
03/28/2012 – Science of Security Lablet Established
03/10/2012 – What is a Data Scientist? Forbes Interview
11/16/2011 – Educating Analytics Practioners, INFORMS – VIDEO
10/17/2011 – Director serves on analytics expert panel
10/07/2011 – Surviving and thriving in the new data reality – VIDEO
09/15/2011 – Science of Better Podcast, INFORMS – AUDIO