Press release: Big Data in Business

Journalists sitting and writing in notepads

How does big data work for business?

Lecture looks at examples from Target to Netflix to Google Translate

Embargo: Monday 27 Feb 7pm

We would like to invite you to a Gresham lecture by Professor Raghavendra Rau, on Big Data in Business.

Rau, Gresham Professor of Business, is currently the Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professor of Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School. This lecture will build on Professor Rau’s previous lectures in the series The Tech Revolution in Finance.

In this lecture Professor Rau will look at how big data works and explore how businesses like Target can now find out, using Big Data, that you are pregnant before you may know it yourself. He will explore the new forms of data available on people, from geospatial to sociometric and psychometric (especially with our use of smartphones). And he will ask, what can you actually do with it? And he has a surprising answer to the question, where does it not work?

“A lot of people assume that more data is better data. You may have even heard the phrase ‘data is a new oil.’” Rau will say. He will look at how we can make inferences from big data, and look at multi-dimensional preference matching, for example how people’s liking for some films and television series may tie in with their interest in other series on Netflix. He will also look at how this changes – how you need to dump old data once it is stale, for example, and on the problems with big data – on how it depends on correlations rather than causation.

He will then look at how big data can help finance, for example predicting loan defaults on a peer to peer lending site.  

“Borrower #1 writes “I am a hard working person, married for 25 years, and have two wonderful boys. Please let me explain why I need help. I would use the $2,000 loan to fix our roof. Thank you, god bless you, and I promise to pay you back.” Borrower #2 writes “While the past year in our new place has been more than great, the roof is now leaking and I need to borrow $2,000 to cover the cost of the repair. I pay all bills (e.g., car loans, cable, utilities) on time.”

“Who do you think would be more likely to default?" Professor Rau will ask. 


Notes to Editors 

Read more on Professor Rau who is the Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professor of Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School.

You can sign up to watch the hybrid lecture online or in person; or email us for an embargoed transcript or speak to Professor Rau: / 07799 738 439