Our Story

Data science uses large sets of data — sometimes millions of pieces of data — to describe or solve some of the world’s toughest problems. Data scientists use those large sets of information to describe what's happening, explain why it's happening, predict what's likely to happen and make decisions about what action to take.

The field of data science is accelerating rapidly across most industries. The 2018 "Milwaukee's Tech Talent Impact" study found that there will be a minimum of 31,000 job openings in tech-related fields in the next five years, not including thousands of projected new jobs. As data science becomes more critical to how companies do business, the need for strong talent with skills and passion in business, mathematics, behavioral sciences, process design and industrial engineering is essential.

For this reason, Northwestern Mutual approached both Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee to explore the potential of expanding their existing data science programs with the company’s support, collaboration and industry expertise in this emerging field.

In June 2018, the three institutions announced the creation of the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute, a groundbreaking partnership that contributes to the formation of a technology ecosystem and advances southeastern Wisconsin as a national hub for technology, research, business and talent development, while creating an organic pipeline of tech talent in the area.


What We Do

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With nearly $40 million invested from Northwestern Mutual, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee over a five-year period, the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute supports an endowed professorship at each university, research projects, new data science faculty, development of expanded curriculum, K-12 STEM learning opportunities and pre-college programming.

Our vision is to be a world-class institute that transforms our world through the power of data science. We inspire and cultivate passion for data science, galvanizing the brightest minds in the Milwaukee region to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems and inspire the next generation of data scientists.

The NMDSI is focusing its efforts in four key areas including talent, thought leadership, community and research. Behind these key areas, we are laying the foundation of a data science network that contributes to a larger technology ecosystem by building a pipeline of talent for the region, establishing data science thought leaders, strengthening our community through data science, and earning international recognition for data science research—all while keeping companies on the leading edge of data science and making intentional connections between education and job opportunities.


About Our Partners

The unique partnership between industry and academia sets the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute apart from other data science institutions and programs. By combining the forces of two nationally recognized universities and a recognized leader in the financial services industry, we understand the need for data science education and development and are taking concrete steps to build and retain technology talent, ensuring the Milwaukee region remains economically competitive.


Meet the Leadership Team

The NMDSI spans all three partner organizations and operates as a single unit.
We have a full staff focused on developing the greater Milwaukee region into an internationally recognized hub for data science.


FAQs

Click on a topic below to learn more about the NMDSI.

1

How was the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute (NMDSI) created?

Northwestern Mutual approached both Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee to explore the potential of expanding their existing data science programs with the company’s support, collaboration and industry expertise in this emerging field.

In June 2018, the three institutions announced the creation of the NMDSI, a groundbreaking partnership that contributes to the formation of a technology ecosystem and advances Southeastern Wisconsin as a national hub for technology, research, business and talent development, while creating an organic pipeline of tech talent in the area.

2

What is the purpose of the NMDSI and the partnership with Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee?

The goal of this collaboration is to lay the foundation of a data science network that contributes to a larger technology ecosystem, advancing southeastern Wisconsin as a national hub for technology, research, business and talent development while creating an organic pipeline of tech talent in the area.

3

What is data science?

Data science uses large sets of data — sometimes millions of pieces of data — to describe or solve some of the toughest problems in business, health, the environment and other fields. Data scientists use those large sets of information to describe what's happening, explain why it's happening, predict what's likely to happen and make decisions about what action to take.

4

Why is there a focus on data science?

The field of data science is accelerating rapidly, and it is a crucial component of businesses across most industries.

As data science becomes more critical to how companies do business, the need for strong talent with skills and passion in business, mathematics, behavioral sciences, process design and industrial engineering is essential. The NMDSI will help keep companies on the leading edge of data science, as well as make intentional connections between education and job opportunities.

5

Is there a need for data scientists in Milwaukee?

The field of data science is accelerating rapidly, and it is a crucial component of businesses across most industries including but not limited to healthcare, finance, business, sports, and manufacturing.

As data science becomes more critical to how companies do business, in Milwaukee and around the world, the need for strong talent with skills and passion in business, mathematics, behavioral sciences, process design and industrial engineering, is essential. The NMDSI will help keep companies on the leading edge of data science, as well as make intentional connections between education and job opportunities.

6

What does the partnership between Northwestern Mutual, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee entail?

Over the next five years, Northwestern Mutual and its Foundation will contribute $15 million to support an endowed professorship at each university, research projects, new data science faculty, development of expanded curriculum, K-12 STEM learning opportunities, and pre-college programming.

Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will each invest more than $12 million in data science education and research to be conducted by existing and new data science faculty, bringing the total commitment in this effort to nearly $40 million.

7

What does the partnership between Northwestern Mutual, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee mean to the region?

The goal of this collaboration is to lay the foundation of a data science network that contributes to a larger technology ecosystem, advancing southeastern Wisconsin as a national hub for technology, research, business and talent development while creating an organic pipeline of tech talent in the area.

The unique partnership between industry and academia sets the NMDSI apart from other data science institutions and programs. By partnering with not one but two nationally-recognized universities, we understand the need for data science education and development and are taking concrete steps to build and retain technology talent, so the region remains economically competitive.

1

Why did Northwestern Mutual choose to work with both Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee?

Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are both leading universities in Milwaukee with strong data science programs and classes that the NMDSI can leverage and build upon.

The unique partnership between industry and academia sets the NMDSI apart from other data science institutions and programs. By partnering with not one, but two, nationally-recognized universities, we understand the need for data science education and development and are taking concrete steps to build and retain technology talent, so the region remains economically competitive.

2

What types of careers can students pursue with an education in data science?

Students studying data science can pursue a variety of career opportunities within the technology ecosystem. For example, Northwestern Mutual offers careers as:

  • Data engineers
  • Architects & decision process engineers
  • Data scientists
  • Business analysts
  • Consultants & engagement managers
  • Data analysts & researchers
3

Can both undergraduate and graduate students participate?

Yes, there is curriculum for both undergraduate and graduate level students.

4

How many new classes will be offered through this program?

In the 2019-2020 academic year, each university will offer at least one NMDSI course each semester (Fall and Spring) for a minimum total of four during the academic year.

For the following four academic years, each university will offer at least two courses each semester (Fall and Spring) for a minimum total of 32 data science related classes. These courses may already exist at each university, but will now benefit from the resources dedicated to the NMDSI.

5

How do I enroll in the NMDSI?

The NMDSI is an umbrella-program with no physical location. Anyone interested in a data science degree or certificate can get an education through the current and expanded programming at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Please visit the following links to learn more about each University’s enrollment options:

6

Will there be learning opportunities offered outside of the classroom as part of the NMDSI?

Real-life experience can be obtained by participating in opportunities offered through the NMDSI, such as internships and research projects. The NMDSI also offers data science events and activities hosted at Cream City Labs, Northwestern Mutual’s innovation space located at the company’s downtown Milwaukee campus. Information about activities in these areas will be communicated on the NMDSI webpage.

1

Are there guaranteed internship and job opportunities tied to this partnership?

Internships are not guaranteed; however, student internship opportunities are a focus of the NMDSI. Job opportunities are not guaranteed but the purpose of the NMDSI is to generate a pipeline of talent for companies in the Milwaukee region.

2

I’m currently a professional in the data science field. How can I participate in the NMDSI programs?

Professional Development is a key focus area for the NMDSI. We are currently defining a number of development opportunities for new and existing data science professionals. You can keep up-to-date on upcoming events and activities by visiting the NMDSI webpage.

3

How can I find job opportunities in the field of data science?

Please visit the NMDSI webpage.

The NMDSI is laying the foundation of a data science network that contributes to a larger technology ecosystem, advancing southeastern Wisconsin as a national hub for technology, research, business and talent development while creating an organic pipeline of tech talent in the area.

1

Can other institutions or companies join this partnership?

Yes. We will continue to explore opportunities for new partnerships with other academic and industry organizations.

2

Can I get someone to speak to my class about data science?

Community is a key focus area for the NMDSI. We are currently outlining plans for specific community partnerships and capacity for outreach activities such as career days, field trips, and speakers. Information about activities in this area will be communicated on our Community page.

1

How can I get involved with a NMDSI research project?

Research is a key focus area for the NMDSI. We are currently defining our research themes and application process. Information about activities in this area will be communicated on the NMDSI webpage.

2

Who can be involved with a NMDSI research project?

Currently, research projects receiving NMDSI support are open to students and faculty at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as Northwestern Mutual employees. Ideally, each research project will have team members from all three NMDSI partner organizations. We will continue to explore opportunities for other academic institutions and industries to participate in NMDSI-sponsored research projects in the future.

1

How can I contact the NMDSI?

The best way to support the NMDSI is to engage in data science related events, activities and initiatives in the Milwaukee area. Education and awareness are the first steps in the process. Continue to follow and check the NMDSI website for updated information.

2

How can I support the NMDSI?

Laying the foundation of a data science network that contributes to a larger technology ecosystem and advancing data science as a career path, while promoting the need for data science talent, is not an overnight achievement. It will take support from all areas including industry, academia, and civic partners.

The best way to support the NMDSI is to engage in data science related events, activities and initiatives in the Milwaukee area. Education and awareness are the first steps in the process. Continue to follow and check the NMDSI website for updated information.

Have additional questions? Contact us at nmdsimail@northwestermutual.com.