Faculty Spotlight: Tom Shively

Tom Shively

Tom Shively, PhD is a 31-year veteran of the McCombs School of Business. A statistician and professor of statistics and data analytics for Texas Executive Education, he describes his tenure as “the third job he’s ever had.” Throughout his decades of teaching, he’s consistently taught McCombs and Texas Executive Education students one thing, how to deal with uncertainty. “Every business decision you are ever going to make will be in the presence of uncertainty,” says the former tennis instructor and paperboy. “It’s important to understand uncertainty and reduce the level of uncertainty so you can make better decisions.” The process for doing so, of course, involves utilizing a complex subset of statistical methods that, when applied to business situations, help drive favorable outcomes.

“We use statistics to extract information from data,” Shively said. His Data Analytics course at Texas Executive Education, taught with his colleague Tom Sager, focuses on two fundamental and essential concepts: regression and forecasting. “The course is perfect for professionals who have a limited statistics background, or maybe they were once proficient years ago but now they need a refresher,” says Shively. “We use a graphical interpretation for the methods. When concepts are introduced graphically rather than mathematically, they are easier to understand when the concepts are still new. From there we can apply these concepts to case studies so that enrollees can get a hands-on understanding of the concept.” It is these kinds of methods that allow Shively to teach an accelerated graduate-level statistics course in two days.

Shively’s three-plus decades of experience has created a Data Analytics class at Texas Executive Education that is an efficient and effective solution for professionals looking to quell uncertainty. Regression and forecasting aside, it seems Shively’s consistency may be uncertainty’s greatest foe. After all, he probably has the data to prove it.

Attending both the data analytic and predictive analytics courses was an eye-opening experience. The range of experience levels and industries represented created a highly-engaging learning environment. You will find yourself discussing big data problems and innovations with your classmates and professors. I personally found several new ways of looking at old problems and started working on them before the class ended. I am now looking to apply the methods learned to automate decision making processes and cost reduction. These classes are highly recommended for anyone who likes to innovate and is interested in changing the future of business." -Dennis Winters, Director of CVD and Metals, Samsung
Upcoming classes with Tom Shively:
Data Analytics – May 8-9; Nov 6-7

Gain confidence in building reliable data analyses to make projections of business intelligence and performance. Utilize the fundamental analytical tool for discovering, analyzing and forecasting relationships—regression. Apply regression to past relationships while looking for trends, seasonal patterns and hidden correlations that can predict the future reliably. Model customer retention rates, develop an optimal bidding strategy in a sealed bid process, hedge your firm’s revenue, or forecast future profitability of individual customers, monthly sales, or daily stock prices by charting a successful course with regression and forecasting methods. Acquire a solid fundamental understanding of the methods, using intuitive graphical approaches to explain and motivate regression and forecasting models.