On Thursday, March 28th, the Tippie Marketing Academy was visited by special guest and alumnus Mitch Tanney.
Growing up, Mitch was an aspiring pro football player; in fact, he played football throughout college and even on semi-pro teams both in the US and Europe.
While the stars did not align for him to make it to the pros, Mitch was able to keep working on what he was passionate about after accepting a job with STATS and working his way to become the Manager of Football Products.
Mitch described the long and hard-fought journey to his current position, and encouraged students not to give up. He commented that if you really want to do something with your career, stick with it and find a way to get in the door.
The second part of Mitch’s talk was focused on the actual work he does at STATS. Big data is all the rage on blogs and business articles these days, but how many of really have an idea of what this means?
Well, Mitch showed us just how daunting these data sets can actually be. While discussing a new camera system which allows STATS to track basketball players’ movements in real time (very cool, by the way), he showed us a spreadsheet containing millions of rows of data that came out of just one game.
Now, as an MBA, Mitch is not just expected to be able to run a statistical analysis on these numbers, but he is expected to be able to interpret it into something useful. This idea was my biggest takeaway: that to be really valuable, we need to be able to tell a story with the data.
Communicating the value in very basic terms is what really makes the light bulb turn on when talking about numbers in this magnitude, and that is exactly what companies are willing to pay for.