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Mingfei Li

Mingfei Li loves the passion for data analytics and data science that Bentley students bring to their studies. An Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences, her main teaching interests include applied game theory, applied statistics and simulations, decision theory, and business analytics. Mingfei was also recently featured in Amstat News, the member magazine of the American Statistical Association. Amstat News chose Bentley University’s Master of Science in Business Analytics as one of four MS analytics programs to be featured it its latest issue.  

How did you get started teaching in the Business Analytics graduate program?

Bentley added business analytics graduate classes much earlier than our MSBA programs, dating back to the 1990s. When I started at Bentley, I was expected to teach business analytical courses, and to help maintain our curriculum on this topic. This is still an emerging area, and contains a lot of interesting new ideas and innovations, deeply related to my own research interests.

What excites you about the research you’re working on now?

The most exciting part of my research is studying innovation, which can influence real world problem solving. With streaming data and the digitalization of the world, there are ever more challenges for businesses. For example, to improve efficiency and service quality, many companies are using data analysis to help understand their market, customers, operations, advertising, etc. A lot of traditional channels have changed into new approaches. These challenges create a high motivation to create and study innovations in both methodology and applications. The gap between industry and academia needs to be bridged to solve these problems and push businesses and technology forward.

What are the top professions this degree program will prepare students for?

I think it depends on students’ interests. They can develop to be a VP, CDO/CIO, or even CEO of a company.  Some of our students are interested in being entrepreneurs and building their own companies.

What educational background will be most helpful to students coming into your program?

Our MSBA program requires at least a BA. We require candidates to have either strong analytics-related academic training or related working experience. Also, our students need to be willing to learn and work with computer programming. For data analysts, programing is a very important skill.

What’s your favorite thing about working with Bentley graduate students?

Most of our students have a huge passion for data analytics in business and data science. They are very motivated, eager to learn and do research.

What was your first job after grad school?

I joined Bentley immediately after my graduation from my Ph.D. program. However, during my Ph.D. program, I worked in a statistics-consulting center as a doctoral consultant, where I got to work on real world problems and challenges. After I joined Bentley, I continued my consulting practice in business analytics, which helps me to understand the most recent industry developments.