Machine Learning, AI, and Digital Marketing courses at the MSBA

group of students studying on laptops at paccar hall

In both the ‘Machine Learning & AI’ and ‘Digital Marketing’ courses, students get hands-on experience learning, applying, and tinkering with innovative techniques.

In the past decades, the largest tech companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have invested billions in machine learning across multiple sectors of their business. This technology has enabled companies to gain tremendous advantages, from reaching new customers to developing new business models, resulting in profitable successes.  

Lalit Jain, assistant professor of Marketing and International Business, teaches students how to be good decision-makers when presented with big data. He has spent the past three years designing two of the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program’s most sought-after courses: Machine Learning Methods & AI and Digital Marketing.

“Data can be extremely misleading. It’s very easy to make bad insights easily. A lot of the classes focus on how you make good insights and practice on the ground,” Jain said.

His machine learning class emphasizes the fundamentals of statistical analysis, which involves hypothesis testing, adaptive experimentation, and regression. While these concepts can be abstract for the new learner, Jain makes sure that students can see the practical application of these frameworks.

“Students walk out with a set of skills,” Jain said. “I will say that you can walk out of these classes being able to set yourself up to the path of mastery.”

headshot of assistant professor Lalit Jain

Assistant professor Lalit Jain teaches ‘Machine Learning & AI’ and ‘Digital Marketing’ in the MSBA program.

Students have told Jain that they have seen results after implementing his strategies in their current jobs. “I’ve given students code in class, and they were able to take that code to their work the very next day,” Jain said. “When you’re a teacher, it’s very nice to know that what you’re teaching is being utilized and appears in people’s day-to-day.”

The Machine Learning Methods & AI course is designed for students who are working or aspire to work in roles that make decisions on large data sets. These can be entry-level data scientists who directly code the data or managers who oversee a team of engineers. “Even in a management role, you need to be able to understand the language and know enough to discern a good idea from a bad one.”

Jain describes his Digital Marketing course as the perfect “counterpart” to that of machine learning. Students learn to apply statistical techniques to solve media-related problems such as measuring the effectiveness of ad campaigns.

Jain added that this is one of the most exciting times to teach these topics, especially since scientists, economists, and industry leaders are studying machine learning more attentively than ever before. In fact, the 2021 Nobel prize for Economic Science was awarded to three economists who work in causal inference. Causal inference, which is the study of finding the cause of a phenomenon, is one of the main topics in both of Jain’s courses.

“I think it’s been a good time for students to learn these pretty cutting-edge techniques,” Jain said. “I don’t think these are techniques that are widely known.”

Jain has spent more than five years doing research in machine learning algorithms and systems, and has worked at renowned companies such as The New Yorker and Intuit. A notable work by Jain was building a crowdsourcing system at The New Yorker to collect, organize, and optimize data for the newspaper’s weekly cartoon caption contestNow, he’s bringing his years of industry experience to MSBA students and the Foster community.

Machine learning is the driving force behind the biggest changes in the tech and business industries. Students who are now entering the workforce, especially in roles that require analytical thinking, will soon face challenges that require some level of statistical knowledge. 

In both the Machine Learning & AI and Digital Marketing courses, students get hands-on experience learning, applying, and tinkering with innovative techniques – all in preparation for a 21st-century career.

“It’s exciting. It’s new. There aren’t a lot of places you can learn that kind of material,” Jain said.

The MSBA program is home to a network of professors, researchers, and employers in machine learning and AI. Learn more about how you can be part of the program.

Written by Anh Nguyen
Writer & Content Strategist
[email protected]