CAMBRIDGE, MA—Boston tech entrepreneur Rama Ramakrishnan has been appointed Professor of the Practice at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
This prestigious professorship is awarded to individuals who are world-class experts in an area and have spent many years in industry. There are only 36 Professors of Practice in all of MIT while there are 663 Professors.
“When MIT offered me a Professor of Practice position to teach data science and applied AI/machine learning, I was delighted to accept,” Prof. Ramakrishnan told INDIA New England News. “Every one of the startups I have been in over the last 20 years built products based on these technologies and this position gives me the chance to share my knowledge and lessons learned, and especially my approach to using these technologies to build smart products and exciting startup ventures.”
Prior to joining MIT Sloan, Prof. Ramakrishnan was a data science entrepreneur and tech executive for over 20 years. He has founded or been a senior executive in four software companies that have exited to technology titans Oracle, Salesforce, and Demandware. He is active in the startup ecosystem as an advisor, angel investor, and board member.
“I am excited to help the next generation of students harness the power of AI to achieve both economic and social benefit,” said Prof. Ramakrishnan, whose research and teaching interests center on the application of data science and machine learning techniques to problems in industry and in the creation of products and services made intelligent by the algorithmic use of data.
Most recently, Prof. Ramakrishnan was senior vice president at Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) and chief data scientist for Salesforce Commerce Cloud. In this role, he led Salesforce Einstein for Commerce–the analytics/machine-learning platform that powers Salesforce Commerce Cloud–and was responsible for product management, engineering, data science, and cloud production operations. The Einstein platform uses analytics techniques to predict and influence the shopping behavior of hundreds of millions of unique shoppers monthly.
The path that led Prof. Ramakrishnan to Salesforce started in July 2010 when he founded a startup, CQuotient, to build a data-science-based personalization platform for retail and e-commerce, according to his official bio. Backed by funding from Bain Capital Ventures, he built and grew the company to a successful exit to Demandware (NYSE: DWRE) in October 2014. As a member of the Demandware executive team, he was involved in the successful sale of Demandware to Salesforce in July 2016 for $2.8 billion. CQuotient technology now forms the core of the Salesforce Einstein for Commerce platform.
Prior to founding CQuotient, Prof. Ramakrishnan taught analytics at MIT Sloan, was Chief Scientist and VP of R&D at ProfitLogic, was Chief Analytics Officer and VP of R&D for the retail business of Oracle, founded two analytics companies, and was a consultant at McKinsey & Company.
He has a BTech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai and MS and PhD degrees from MIT.