At Imperial College Business School, our high quality teaching comes from academics recognised as world class in their field. We caught up with Professor Kalyan Talluri and Professor David Miles who gave us an interesting take on what Full-Time MBA and MSc students can expect to learn in their classes, and an insight into their research background.
Professor Kalyan Talluri is the Munjal Chair in Global Business and Operations. Kalyan teaches Decision Analytics on the Full-Time MBA and is Programme Director for the MSc Business Analytics programme, teaching on the modules Network Analytics and Digital Marketing Analytics.
Professor David Miles was a member of the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of England for six years. David has also served as Chief UK Economist for both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. David teaches Macro Economics and Finance for Practitioners to Full-Time MBA students and is Programme Director for the MSc Economics and Strategy for Business. David also teaches Investment and Portfolio Management and Macro Economics on the MSc Finance and Accounting and MSc Investment and Wealth Management programmes.
What can students expect to learn in your classes?
For Full-Time MBA students, the main takeaway from my module on Decision Analytics is the understanding of statistics as it applies to business. Students learn how to get insight from extracting and reading data – and then use that data to make optimum managerial decisions when faced with very uncertain situations.
The modules I teach on the MSc Business Analytics programme have a more technical focus. Students studying Network Analytics learn how to extract information from social networks and build business models which are based on networks. The Digital Marketing module trains students in algorithmic techniques for marketing which extends to social networks and wider marketing, such as online market places and digital advertising.
How do the classes help students in their career?
A fundamental understanding of statistics is very critical in business, especially because more and more companies are using data based decision-making. We teach things like A/B testing and how to make decisions based on data which is never yes or no. It tends to be ubiquitous in what it is saying. You need some statistical knowledge to interpret data and that’s the main learning objective of my classes.
Tell us about your work on dynamic pricing.
I’ve worked with a lot of airlines on dynamic pricing using data analytic techniques, statistics and software. Dynamic pricing is when you see prices going up and down all the time based on supply and demand and competition. For example, you see prices changing all the time on Amazon and on hotel, airline and rental car websites. You can look up an airline ticket today and an hour later the price may go up or sometimes it goes down. This is not set by humans but by algorithms and programmes. That is my primary research area. My other areas of research are network and service design, supply chain and logistics.
What’s attractive about the MSc Business Analytics?
There’s the Centre for Business Analytics with KPMG at Imperial College Business School which brings together a group of researchers from various departments including economics, marketing, operations and organisational theory. The Centre’s research focus is big data and analytics, looking at how it might help business. We organise regular seminars and collaborate on projects with industry which students can benefit from. A lot of students are attracted to the Centre because they get to work on real world projects while they’re here and they can put it on their CV which will help them find a job on graduation. The Centre also sponsors scholarships on the MSc Business Analytics every year.
What’s unique about studying economics at Imperial College Business School?
We’ve got a very large group of people here doing research on financial markets and financial economics more generally. Imperial College Business School has become one of the prominent schools in Europe in financial economics helped enormously by the establishment of the Brevan Howard Centre. The Brevan Howard Centre was set up with a £20 million donation from Brevan Howard.
What do Full-Time MBA students learn on the Macro Economics module?
They learn about the fundamentals of micro economics. Students learn key concepts like output and GDP, how it changes over time, and how it is affected by government decisions and fiscal policy. In my class, students also look into how the level of unemployment is determined, what drives inflation and how central banks set monetary policy. This year I’ll include housing because it is important at the aggregate level for the whole economy I’ll also cover Brexit given where we are now.
You were a member of the Monetary Policy Committee for six years. Tell us more about that.
I’ve been interested in housing for a long time now. I wrote a book 20 years ago on housing and financial markets and the impact on the wider economy of what happens in housing markets (full details of the book can be found here). I’ve also worked with Professor James Sefton on the impact of housing in the very long run and where it might be going. That was why I was asked by the government to do some work looking at the structure of the mortgage market in the UK and I spent some time working in the Treasury. After that I worked as Chief UK Economist at both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. I was then asked if I would advise the Bank of England through their Monetary Policy Committee.
Housing is such an important part of the UK economy. It’s particularly significant because the links between the UK economy and changing interest rates is really powerful in the UK – probably more powerful than most countries. We’ve got a combination of a lot of mortgage debt and the interest rate people pay on the mortgage is affected very quickly and significantly by the Bank of England’s interest rates.
What are the current themes in financial economics research?
There’s a wide range of current research. I’m interested in mortgages, the housing market and where that’s going. There’s a lot of research into asset pricing and what drives the price of equity, bonds and financial derivatives. All of these things are affected quite significantly by Brexit.
There’s also some very interesting issues about money and the future of money, especially how do people pay for things? Are notes and coins a thing of the past? There’s some really interesting issues about financial technology and the future of banks.
What would your advice be for a student who is thinking about studying an economics module at Imperial College Business School?
Students at Imperial College Business School have a real opportunity to talk to people at the forefront of the subject who are doing exciting research. I would advise students to grasp that opportunity and ask questions. An advanced course in economics helps you think through how you think about a problem. That’s possibly the most important thing that people get out of studying.
What’s next on your agenda?
I’ve just finished something for the Debt Management Office in London which advises on the government’s finance and fiscal deficit. The Debt Management Office issues all the government bonds and I was asked to help with a narrow technical issue on measuring the cost to the UK government debt. On the research side I am interested in where house prices might be going and housing values (David Miles predicted a substantial fall in real house pricing in 2006).