Associate Professor of Information Systems & Operations Management Emma Zhang has long held a strong passion for data and analytics—a passion that led her to begin teaching at Goizueta Business School in January, where she quickly found a community equally as passionate about data science.
“What attracted me at first was the need and appreciation of business analytics at Goizueta, especially on modern topics such as machine learning, deep learning, and reinforcement learning,” Zhang says. “I believe efforts to have students keeping up with these new tools in analytics will really place them ahead of their peers on the job market, and I was happy to be a part of these efforts. I really hope to share my perspectives in data science and help students appreciate the power and business value in data and analytical methods.”
Although she has only been on campus for a few months, Zhang immediately found the Goizueta environment to be inclusive, supportive, and intellectually stimulating. Zhang has been continuously surprised at how far students will push and challenge themselves in the pursuit of learning.
While students entered my class with varying degrees of familiarity with data science, they are all extremely self-motivated and always up for new challenges.Emma Zhang
“I have really enjoyed helping students building strengths and gaining skills and confidence in data analytics. This process has been extremely rewarding for me,” Zhang says.
Zhang received her Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to Emory, she was an associate professor of management science at the University of Miami, where she also held a secondary appointment in the Public Health Sciences.
From Data Analytics to Alzheimer’s Research
At Goizueta, Zhang will continue to pursue her research, which focuses on developing new statistical and machine learning models, algorithms and theory for modern data such as high dimensional data, multi-dimensional data and point process data. Some applications include optimizing online advertisement placement and recommendation systems, understanding and forecasting user behavior on social media platforms, and modeling network dynamics in international trades amongst countries and firm-level financial networks.
Additionally, Zhang has been collaborating with peers in the biological science and medical fields to better understand Alzheimer’s disease, including identifying early onset biomarkers from brain images and understanding the genetic underpinning of the disease.
[Goizueta] has offered a great platform for me to get in touch with real challenges that businesses are facing and real analytical problems that they are trying to address.Zhang
“These problems will motivate the development of new statistical models and methods. Goizueta has also opened up great venues for collaborating with other schools within Emory such as public health and medicine,” she says.
Zhang’s research has appeared in journals on statistics, machine learning, economics, and biology, and has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. She also serves as an associate editor of the Statistica Sinica, Annals of Applied Statistics and the Journal of the American Statistical Association.
Outside of Goizueta, Zhang enjoys traveling, which she says allows her to bring new perspectives to her classroom.
“I especially love to experience other cultures through their cuisine and architecture,” she says. “Whether traveling for work or leisure, it always refreshes and opens up my mind and brings me new perspectives on work and life.”
Goizueta faculty apply their expertise and knowledge to solving problems that society—and the world—face. Learn more about faculty research at Goizueta.