Data Made to Matter: MIT Sloan’s new podcast explores how harnessing the power of data and analytics can help solve pressing social and business challenges


Cambridge, Mass., May 15, 2017—What really happened in the 2008 global financial meltdown? What does the workplace of the future look like? From where will the next generation of treatments for chronic diseases emerge? And why is Facebook so good at predicting what you like? These are just a few of the questions that MIT Sloan’s new podcast, Data Made to Matter, will address this season.

The podcast, which debuts May 20th, aims to delve into the many ways in which researchers at MIT Sloan are harnessing data and analytics to find solutions for pressing social, managerial, and business problems. Neal Hartman, Senior Lecturer in Managerial Communication at the school, hosts the show.

“Our goal is to provide listeners with new insights into the transformative power of data,” says Hartman. “We aim to unlock the mysteries of data and demonstrate how it is changing the face of healthcare, improving child welfare, deepening our understanding of climate change, and bolstering our abilities as consumers to make good choices.”

The format of the podcast is “lively and conversational,” according to Hartman. “It is a lot of fun,” he says. “I am confident our listeners will be fascinated by the work that our professors do and also come away with new ideas and perspectives for how they can use data to improve their own organizations and personal lives.”

Each episode tackles a new topic. The lineup includes:

  • Ali Almossawi, the data visualization engineer and MIT alum, on his new book: Bad Choices: How Algorithms Can Help You Think Smarter and Live Happier
  • Dimitris Bertsimas, the mathematician, on organizational design in the healthcare sector
  • Joseph Doyle, the economist, on measuring returns of healthcare spending
  • Andrew Lo, the economist, hedge fund manager, and finance professor, on financial evolution
  • Andrew McAfee, the scientist, and Erik Brynjolfsson, the economist, on our digital future
  • Roberto Rigobon, the economist, and Alberto Cavallo, professor of information technology, on the Billion Prices Project
  • John Sterman, professor of management, on climate change
  • Tavneet Suri, the economist, on international development in Kenya
  • Zeynep Ton, professor of operations management, on The Good Jobs Strategy

The school’s push into podcasting comes at an auspicious time for the medium. A survey by Edison Research last year indicates that 57 million Americans listen to a podcast each month. The resurgence is driven largely by the ease and efficiency with which podcasts allow listeners to learn about a variety of subjects.

“Podcasts are having a moment,” says Jules Lemire, Director of Brand Management at the school. “Our research shows business professionals are listening to them regularly and find them to be an excellent way to learn more about any given topic. They’re also a means of developing professional skills while also staying current with what’s happening in the world.”

The school will create a dozen 15-20-minute episodes that will be available for free via Apple iTunes. Pien Huang, formerly of On Point, produces the podcast.

“Our target audience for Data Made to Matter is global business leaders—including alumni, MBA students, and seasoned practitioners,” says Lemire. “But there’s something for everyone. After all, who doesn’t love a great story?”

About the MIT Sloan School of Management

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