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Do You Need to Hire a PhD to Take Advantage of Predictive Modeling?

PhDHere’s a question that TMA often gets in the free webinar, “Data Mining, Failure to Launch.” People always want to know whether they need a PhD or if they need to hire a  PhD in order to receive the benefits of predictive analytics.

If this is a concern for your business then here’s some great news for you. You don’t need one. 

Certainly, a PhD could help you come up with some outstanding mathematical models. However, outstanding mathematical models are not really what most businesses need.

Most businesses need models that are good enough to create actionable insights. If you have a model that is good enough to get you some actionable insights then you can improve your business enough to enjoy incredible returns. You just need to ensure that the “good enough” model is applied the right way.

You see, the math is what you might call the mechanics of predictive analytics. It’s knowing the ins and outs of how the car runs. A PhD understands everything about the mechanics of the car, from how the catalytic converter works to the action of each individual piston inside of the engine.

But you don’t have to fix the car. You need to drive the car.

To drive the car, you need a solid understanding of strategy. 90% of the work of productive predictive analytics is truly done at the strategic stage. This is the stage where you develop a clear understanding of your business and create a solid project definition. This is also the stage where you develop a clear understanding of your data and the way that the data will need to be handled in order to give you these good enough answers.

Sure, it helps to have a basic understanding of some of the mechanics. Most drivers know how to change a tire. Some even know how to change oil.

But if you have that strategic understanding then you can combine that understanding with modern software tools. Those tools are happy to take care of the mathematical complexity of analytics for you.

In fact, having a PhD might actually be detrimental to your business. A mathematician just doesn’t look at the world in the same way that a business professional does. Thus, a PhD might well get fixated on things that simply do not matter to the average business. All of the mathematical training in the world is no substitute for a business background if you want your data to start making money or saving money for your organization.

Do you have other questions about predictive modeling?

Then join The Modeling Agency for its next free webinar. Every webinar includes an interactive Q&A session which is a virtual free consultation with some of the best and brightest minds in data analytics today. Register now.

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