Professor Bill Rand: Understanding Complex Networks, Data-driven Decisionmaking

“I’m interested in understanding how people find things out, what they do with that information once they have it, and how they pass it on to others”, says Bill Rand, associate professor of marketing in NC State Poole College of Management’s Department of Business Management.

NC State’s strong engineering focus was a big draw for Rand, who has his doctorate in computer science. As a faculty member, he is interested in complex networks and “how people are processing all the plethora of information they’re getting right now. … The interdisciplinary nature of NC State not only helps the research that I’m doing, but is crucial to it,” he said.

From an industry perspective,  he said, “I’m really interested in trying to help industry and non-profits think about how they can use data to make better decisions, and a lot of times, that’s taking advantage of new data sources, like social media. Using new computational methods to understand this data is one of the areas where we’ll have a large impact.”

“For students, I try and bring the research into the classroom on a regular basis … (to) provide them with a new way of thinking,” he said. In teaching digital marketing, for example, “we’re really interested in understanding how we can get our messages to our consumers through digital platforms. I take an approach that’s driven a lot by understanding complex networks, understanding how people interact.”

Click the video link above to hear from Professor Rand about his research and teaching.

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