UConn Business Professors Present Five, Free Mini-Courses to Showcase Graduate Classes

UConn School of Business faculty, like Professor Robert Bird (Pictured above) are presenting short courses to give prospective graduate students a taste of what a UConn education would be like. (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)

The UConn School of Business is offering five mini-courses to showcase the expertise of its faculty. Although the programs were designed for prospective graduate students, anyone is welcome to join the one-hour, online courses free of charge.

Topics range from “Overcoming Your own Biases to Make Better Ethical Decisions” to “If you Are so Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?” and “Optimization: The Key to Analytics, Data Science and Even Fantasy Football.”

“We designed these courses for prospective graduate students to discover, first hand, the tremendous expertise and energy that our professors bring to their courses,” said Mia Hawlk, program director for UConn’s new Online MBA program, which debuts this fall. “Selecting the right university to pursue a graduate degree is a big decision, and we want people to see how career-enhancing a UConn graduate education can be.”

“The professors have chosen topics that are extremely relevant to business today and subjects about which they are passionate,” said Alyssa Suhr, an admissions and program coordinator at the School of Business, who organized the series. “We certainly welcome members of the public to join us as well, to learn more about a topic that interests them.”

The Collaborative Classroom course schedule is as follows:

March 31: “Overcoming Your Own Biases to Make Better Ethical Decisions,” will be presented by business law professor Robert Bird. He will discuss how most people want to be ethical in the workplace but are vulnerable to their own biases on how they interpret and process information. The session will also offer strategies to minimize the risk of unethical behavior at work. Attendees will be invited to participate in various polling questions as they understand and overcome personal biases. The presentation is 6 to 7 p.m.

Note: This event has already occurred, a video recording will soon be available at the Collaborative Classroom website.

April 13: “Predicting House Prices in Connecticut, Using Machine Learning” will be presented by information management professor Dave Wanik. Machine-learning models are masters of pattern-based knowledge. Imagine trying to predict house prices in Connecticut. You would want to input detailed data about neighborhoods and schools, along with the house-price predictions, and let the computer learn the pattern for how to relate the data. Once the model is ready, you can apply it widely across the state and predict how much a home would sell for before it does. The workshop will demonstrate how to use Python to download datasets, make beautiful visualizations, fit a machine-learning model, and show which variables were the most important for making an accurate prediction. The presentation is from 6 to 7 p.m. No coding experience or special software required. To register, please visit: https://connect.grad.uconn.edu/register/?id=c69eb515-7cb8-4155-b58a-1cd1e4e139fc

April 26: “The Pandemic Origins of Risk Management,” will be the focus of a presentation by professor of information management Trevor Tomko. People routinely made decisions, from the mundane to the life-changing. How they arrive at their decisions is rooted in the principles of risk management. Risk management is humanity’s way of combining objective and subjective information in an attempt to make predictions. Sometimes it works in our favor, sometimes it doesn’t. One of the earliest advances in risk management came during an outbreak of a deadly disease, and, much like the current pandemic, continued to challenge people and advance our understanding or risk and uncertainty. The program will be from 6 to 7 p.m. To pre-register, please visit: https://connect.grad.uconn.edu/register/?id=976006ef-5604-43c3-87d8-ebd76bed0071

May 12: “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich? The ‘Carry Trade’ with Our North American Trading Partners,” will be presented by finance professor David Rubin. In this course, you’ll learn why borrowing at 2 percent and investing at higher rates doesn’t always work out, even if there is no credit risk or asset pricing for your investment. This discussion and accompanying tool-kit will cut across several topics that finance courses at UConn address, including financial modelling, exchange rates, interest rates and futures markets. Rubin will also discuss how people can use these markets to infer and predict future values, rates and risks. Attendees will participate in various discussions as they learn financial implications related to the Carry Trade. The course will meet from 6 to 7 p.m. To register, please visit: https://connect.grad.uconn.edu/register/?id=c315e560-f1cf-4886-8e14-81cf28468302

May 24: “Optimization: The Key to Analytics, Data Science, and Even Fantasy Football” will be presented by information management professor David Bergman, who recently uses his analytical knowledge to help him win a large sum of money playing fantasy football. Business decision-making is increasingly reliant on automation and at the core of automation is the field of optimization. This session will introduce how optimization is transforming the way that business is done, its relation to other data science disciplines, and its use in daily fantasy sports. Attendees will be invited to participate in solving a problem live and learn more about how Bergman used analytics to guide his championship win. The program is from 6 to 7 p.m. To pre-register, please visit: https://connect.grad.uconn.edu/register/?id=c63b15dd-5a62-4a7b-9a97-5337dadc05c4