“I’ve never let my school interfere with my education”
I hold the Mark Twain quote above as an universal truth. Schools are great places to interact with people and meet friends, to understand that your needs and interests are not shared by everyone; an essential lesson to a healthy life. However, when it comes to formal education, they are very inefficient.
I believe that a person’s family and closest friends are the best place to learn, followed by books and movies. I am convinced that my real education was at home, with an outstanding example from my parents, brothers, uncles and, later, from my wife and children.
But since I did study quite a few years, here is a description of my formal schooling and some of the things I learned there, starting from the end.
M.Sc. Operations Research and Decisions
Following my BA, I got very interested in Statistical and Mathematical models. As a result, I applied to a M.Sc. on Tel Aviv University and started my Masters on its faculty of management. During my studies, I had the opportunity to learn about mind boggling subjects such as game theory, data mining, economic models and Markov Chains.
Following an initial trial to write my thesis on the role of creativity on decision making, I had an idea that I am still proud of: using Markov Chains to optimize websites. This statistical model is very interesting in that it really reminds a website, with states (pages) and transitions (visitors moving from one page to another). Below is the abstract of the thesis:
This work shows that it is possible, and appropriate, to represent online behavior of Internet surfers using Markov Chains. This conclusion was led by the fact that users (surfers) behave in a non linear manner while visiting websites, and switch from one page to another with no direct relation to past behavior. Even when there is a linear behavior in the website where some pages are a pre-requisite for others (such as in a buying process or in a guided tour through a product), it is possible to adjust the model into an n-order Markov chain, where the next page a customer will visit is affected by the nth pages the customer has visited before. In addition, using Web Analytics tools it is possible to group several pages into one, which allows the whole buying process to be merged into “one page”. The use of Markov Chains to analyze online behavior allows website owners to discover the pages that contribute to their website the most. This knowledge is particularly important to define landing pages for specific campaigns and to optimize pages in order to improve conversion rates.
BA Business Management
Although I was very attracted by Biology during High School, I decided to study Business Management as it looked like a more fitting and interesting field to me (my interest in Biology was fullfiled by marrying a Biologist!) During the four years (1999-2003) I spent on PUC Minas University, I had the pleasure of reading many interesting books and meeting some interesting people.
In my final research, “Green Corporate strategies“, I went through a large bibliography of Environmental strategies and ISO 14000 (from 14001 to 14050). In addition, as a trainee of USIMINAS (the largest steel complex of Latin America), I discussed the Environmental management of the company. I published an article as a result of the thesis in a Brazilian circulation magazine called Meio Ambiente Industrial (Industrial Environment).