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Learn Data Analytics and Foster Diversity: Speaker's Advice for Young World-Changers (and anyone

Claire Broido Johnson, president of CBJ energy, spoke to a sold out and packed room at this Smeal College of Business last night.

Her wide-ranging remarks stretched from distributed energy resources and the disruptive impact of the Internet of Things and Big Data, to the unique path and challenges for women working in the energy industry.

She quoted a number of research studies by saying there is proof that having more diversity and women in leadership positions leads to improved company performance.

Among many good questions during the Q&A session, one that struck me was about Data Analytics. She was asked how important it is for students, and all of us, to understand analytics.

"Whatever you need to do to understand data analytics, you should do it. Take a course, get the books, whatever."

This is sound advice from many decades of successful entrepreneurship and her work in a quickly advancing industry. We would be wise to follow her advice.

Indeed, in the energy space, for example, she shared a startling statistic. A million Smart Meters capturing 15 minute interval data will create almost 3,000 terabytes of data. And there are a lot more than a million smart meters just in the United States. And a smart meter is just one Appliance , whereas in the future our homes and businesses will have hundreds of such appliances. Thats a lot of data. One terabyte is roughly equivalent to 250,000 MP3s (2 years non-stop listening). And it's useless unless a person along with an algorithm and platform is able to make sense of it and drive actionable insights from it.

So there you go. The lesson for the day. And that's a good fit for Penn State and the Smeal College of Business. We have a very popular online graduate certificate in business analytics . I encourage you to check it out.

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