Business forum features topics focused on data

Mark Hurd
Mark Hurd
Mark Hurd

By Ashley Altus

“Big data in a shrinking world” is the theme for the eighth annual Global Business Forum.

Baylor alumnus Mark Hurd, president and board member of Oracle, will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday.

Hurd oversees the strategy for the company’s global field operations. Oracle is a computer hardware and software technology company that is known for database management systems.

The forum kicked off Monday with a film titled “The Age of Big Data.”

The Baylor Business McBride Center for International Business will have speakers, a student competition and other events throughout the entire week on the fifth floor of Cashion Academic Center, unless otherwise noted on the official schedule for the forum.

Big data is the concept of structured and unstructured data growing at an exponential rate. Everything from an internet search to a blog posting leaves a footprint of data for companies to collect and analyze. Big data allows for evidence-based decision making.

“We are generating a lot of information, and it’s being recorded in various ways, and now we have the ability to store all it, and make it easily accessible anywhere by vastly increasing storing capacity,” said Dr. Steve Gardner, director of the McBride Center for International Business.

Gardner said the theme of the forum was chosen a year ago, and Baylor students in particular should become more familiar with the trend because of the careers available. Careers involving big data include computer scientists and statisticians, but big data affects everyone.

He said the forum should be educational and interesting not only for business students, but all students because big data is the part of current lifestyles.

“Data science and big data, the job opportunities in the labor force are enormous right now,” Gardner said. “There’s a huge shortage of the skills that are needed by employers in the private sector, nonprofit organizations, the government, everywhere.”

This year, the forum will host 12 business professionals. Some of the topics include crowdsourcing, social media, legal and ethical concerns and consumer supply and demand.

Gardner said events during the forum occur in the same increments as the class schedule. To counter this, students can go to presentations between classes on Thursday on the fifth floor of Cashion Academic Center from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

“Some faculty members will give extra credit for students for attending these and we certainly encourage that because we think it’s a good thing for students to be able to take advantage of the opportunity,” Gardner said. “We don’t have these types of people on campus all the time.”

The forum ends Friday with the “Global Issues Challenge” student competition.

The annual competition has students pitch their position with public speaking and knowledge on big data. The winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card.