SAS® Global Forum 2019

Analytics in Action

Interview with Academic Attendees from Slovakia
Prepared by Katarina Krausova, Manager: SAS Global Academic Programs, Central and Eastern Europe
May 15th, 2019

Some days ago you returned from Dallas, SAS Global Forum. Both of you won scholarships in your catogories (SAS Student Ambassadors and Faculty Scholarship for Professors) so you were not just an ordinary attendee. How did your conference agenda look like?

Ondrej:  We stayed in Dallas from April 27th until May 1st. We were able to register for the Conference already on Saturday and got the conference materials – especially ID Card which we needed everywhere. The Conference agenda started on Sunday in full – training sessions in the morning that we could attend as a part of our scholarship. In the afternoon we continued in the Academic Session, which started with lunch where we met our colleagues from the academic sector and then we attended a celebration of Awards in various categories (Awards & Scholarships). Then we were divided into Professors/Students sessions full of interesting papers and rich discussions. I attended a Professor session where we discussed the topics of Ethics in Analytics and Data Science. In the evening we enjoyed the Opening Session with Dr. Jim Goodnight, CEO and Co-Founder of SAS. We were impressed by various statements he made, e.g. how the development of analytics would continue in the next decades and how SAS invested $ 1 bil. into AI.

Romana: On Monday we attended some presentations and then we volunteered a bit. SAS Global Forum is organised to a great extent by volunteers that helped with the organisation of papers or demo presentations. We wanted to help, too so we became a part of this volunteering team and helped with the organisation of presentations. We were managed by a special mobile application which was really cool. I was then ready for my big debut. I presented a paper on Using Cost-Sensitive Predictive Modeling in Digital Marketing.

Ondrej: And she was really great – people who liked her topic – appreciated her presentation. I saw many nodding heads.

Romana: After my presentation I was finally relaxed and could enjoy other presentations and the evening banquet with all the great cakes and drinks. On Tuesday we attended presentations of two inspirational women from science and IT: Olympia LePoint a Reshma Saujani. I liked the way how they both presented as it was very personal. After other presentations and demonstrations of SAS software we met other attendees from academia and SAS from Canada, Lebanon, South Africa, USA, etc. We talked about mutual cooperations and I was very happy to be invited to Summer school focused on analytics (where?). Evening was full of surprises – typical Dallas activities - SAS Kick Back Party with Country bands, mechanical bull, a competition in a horse shoe throwing and armadillo races.  

Ondrej: On Wednesday we were invited by SAS South EMEA Academic Team for breakfast. It was great to meet all those people – we really appreciated it and I consider those contacts as the most precious stuff we brought back from Dallas. We will plan something together very soon. The closing part of the key note session contained from my point of view the most distinctive presentation from all – a paper by a futurist and an astrophysicist Dr. Michio Kaku. It was extremelly interesting to learn details on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and on visionary ideas that are about to happen very soon. After the conference we had some time to see the downtown and the Reunion Tower, then we headed to the airport.  

Ondrej, did SAS GF meet your expectations?

An event like this cannot be compared to any other event I have attended so far. It did overcome my expectations so much - by its size, content and first of all by the great people from the whole world that I could meet there. I wish a day had more than 24 hours. It was hard to select from the wide offer of all the presentations and trainings. Many great presentations ran in parallel. I liked very much a motivational training on How To Be an Effective Statistician by Alexander Schacht with the impact on effective organisation of working/free time, identification of attention shatterings and leadership building.

Romana, what is it you are taking home from SAS GF? 

Inspiration and a wide overview. I have not realised what a wide spectrum of possibilities SAS covers and where it is possible to apply analytics. This event was full of useful presenattions, workshops and valuable contacts. I liked the presentation of Michio Kaku most (I recommend to watch some of his presenattions as well as read some of his bestsellers). For me as a woman with the ambition in analytics and IT, it was extremelly inspirational to listen to the best practice of Reshma Saujani, a founder of Girls who Code. The whole conference was a great experience  and I cannot tell which was really the best. I was honoured I could get the title SAS Student Ambassador and I was very much delighted when people I did not know congratulated me.

How will you use all gained information and contacts in your career after school which you finish in these months? By the way what is your dream job?

Romana: I definitely do not want to stagnate. I think if you want to achieve something you must do more than the others and you must set your goals high. Analytics and IT are my passion. I see it is my future and not only becasue it is nowadays wanted but I love it. I am open to whatever possibilties that will come to my way or I will apply for them. However, SAS Global Forum was an experience that cannot be substituted by anything. I hope to utilise all the information and contacts I got the best possible.