Alumnus David Kelly speaks at Big Data Innovator Series

November is Big Data month, and we’ve been working hard to demonstrate how important (and cool) big data is in many ways – one of which is the Big Data Innovator Series taking place here at Seidenberg.

The series is a collection of talks and interviews with Seidenberg alumni who work with big data. There are three talks – two in November and one in December – and we strongly encourage our students to attend!

The first event took place on Wednesday November 9th in the Seidenberg Lounge at 163 William St. The speaker was David Kelly (MS Information Systems ’94), and he spoke to an incredible turnout of 120 students! David is the CIO and co-chief operating officer at Pine River Capital Management, so he had a lot of great advice to share with our students interested in going into the financial world.

david-kelly-2

In an interview with Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill, David spoke about his career, things he had learned, and what he looked for when interviewing candidates for a particular job. “I’m going to assume you know how to code,” he said about his expectations of potential employees. “Going to school in lower Manhattan also shows that you’ve got character.”

He added that internships and travel, particularly international travel, were all good signs, and that if a student has “a cool and unique background . . . the interviewer will like finding a connection.”

One of David’s most important pieces of advice to students was showing a willingness to work hard and to learn, even if you are asked to do something that you don’t know or that isn’t included in your job description. “Show willingness to do what you’re asked to do,” he said.

“Be flexible. Do as they ask you to do. Over time you become regarded as a well-rounded person. Don’t have a deterministic view of what your job should be. Don’t be religious with technology – there’s a classic trick question we like to use: do you prefer using Lotus 1-2-3 or Excel? The correct answer is that it doesn’t matter – if you’re religious about one type of technology, it can hinder you.”

David also had some insights into the big data and cybersecurity fields, saying that the job prospects in cybersecurity were going to be just as good in 2019 as they are now.

“I think they are converging,” David said of big data and cybersecurity. “A lot of security solutions are out there . . . but how do you stitch all of these different solutions together? Real time analysis – that’s where big data comes in.”

We really enjoyed having David visit for our Big Data Innovator Series and would like to extend a big thank you to David and to organizer Deth Sao.

Next up is Jason Molfetas, the CIO of Amtrak!

Seidenberg Alum’s Kickstarter Campaign

Marcelo Zimmler
Seidenberg Alum, Marcelo Zimmler
Seidenberg alum, Marcelo Zimmler (Class of 2012), has just launched a kickstarted campaign of his own. After graduation, Zimmler moved to London to pursue an MBA, but over the years, he has been developing his own business he calls Mariscotti Art, and it is based out of NYC. The publishing company deals with original artwork and reproductions by Contemporary Abstract artist Osvaldo Mariscotti. The Kickstarter Zimmler has just launched is campaigning to create an entire collection of unique fashion accessories inspired by Mariscotti’s art. The accessories include (so far) scarves and shawls made of pure silk, cashmere, and Merino wool.

“I thought that by presenting the art in more familiar and accessible formats, people would be able to gain insights and greater appreciation for this particular kind of art which is very valuable but sometimes misunderstood.”

To take a look at the Mariscotti Art project, or to back the fund, you can get to the Kickstarter page here!
The artist Mariscotti and some of his work.
The artist Mariscotti and some of his work.

A Chat with Seidenberg CS ’13 Alum, Keith McPherson

In keeping in touch with Seidenberg alumni, we’re able to keep track of the success they reap from their Seidenberg education. Now we’d like to share this information with you, to better prepare you for life before, during, and after your Seidenberg Experience. Today we’re sharing with you what we’ve learned from Computer Science alum of ’13, Keith McPherson.

McPherson with Dr. Kline

Keith explained to us that he never decided to study computer sciences but, instead, was called to the degree through his own passions and interests in computing. The same happened in his choice to come to Pace University. He was accepted into 08‘s Seidenberg Summer Scholars Experience and then knew he would study at no place other than Pace after his participation in the program.

Looking back on his experience at Pace, McPherson said, “I don’t believe I could’ve gone to school anywhere else and had a comparable experience. Seidenberg isn’t a school; it’s a family. The people I met and opportunities I had were all amazing and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”

McPherson now works at a large EMR (Electronic Medical Record) software company that he describes as a “market leader in providing an integrated system to large hospitals.” When we asked if he was able to integrate his knowledge from Seidenberg into his job, he replied, “The fundamentals of CS are something I use everyday, but the languages, frameworks and projects I work on were never even discussed. This is mostly because I work in a very specialized industry with very specialized technology. I had 6 months of training before I was allowed to start actually working on their software.”

Some of the software McPherson works on and owns is used by more than half the doctors in the country. While McPherson is excited that he is helping the medical world, the only downside is that he is occasionally required to write in archaic languages like MUMPS.

Remembering his time at Seidenberg, McPherson gives a nod to Prof. Benjamin, whose classes he enjoyed, and Dr. Kline, with whom he volunteered for FIRST and worked on many research projects. He also recommends the class on Compilers, which he explains verbatim, “turned me into a man.”

McPherson left  his own advice for today’s students of Seidenberg: “You’ve been told this a million times, but get good grades and work on side projects. Every offer I had upon graduating required a good GPA and the awesome projects I had done made me stand out against other applicants. When you’re out of school and in the real world you’ll never say, ‘man I wish I would’ve sat in my dorm playing League of Legends more…’ you’ll say, ‘I wish I would’ve gone to class more.'”