Interview with Pindaro Demertzoglou ACT ’95

Interview with Pindaro Demertzoglou ACT ’95

Pindaro Demertzoglou ‘95 was class valedictorian, an active and serious student who regards ACT as a game-changer for his life. He received a full scholarship to study at ACT where he received a BA in Business Administration (Finance) graduating with an overall GPA of 3.8 out of 4.0. He went on to pursue an MBA in Entrepreneurship and an MA in Management Information Systems at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, before achieving his Ph.D. in Information Science at SUNY Albany in 2007. He is a Business Analytics and Database Specialist, who from 2018 to 2021 was the Director, Program of Business Analytics, Lally School of Management, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Over the last three years, he has worked with Johnson & Johnson, deFacto Global, United Aircraft Technologies, Inc, and IPPSEC (ippsecpro.com). He has recently left the United States and returned to Greece, where he plans to open a publishing house.

You were born in Alexandroupoli, in Northern Greece. How did you decide to pursue to study in Thessaloniki at ACT in the specific field? 

I was very interested in Management Information Systems and ACT had provided a tour of its computer lab back then. I was ecstatic and I made the decision right there that I wanted to pursue an education at ACT. It is a decision I have never regretted after 30 years from that moment! 

What do you remember most of your years as a student at ACT?

I remember a very demanding curriculum that required daily work on a constant basis. The faculty would never leave any slack and the workweek was full of homework, projects, presentations, and assignments. Especially during the first semester, it was a demanding familiarization process. Everyone was inspiring, it was the type of educational environment I was looking for. When I say everyone, I mean everybody from the registrar, the faculty, the staff, the librarians, the gardeners, and even the president’s office. The president’s office at ACT was and I am sure is, by far more responsive than presidential offices in some of the universities I am aware of in the States.

You were also a scholarship recipient - how did this aid shape your future and opportunities?

The scholarship received from the ACT was an extremely important factor for my studies. I was able to complete my studies on time and actually, it was a scholarship that allowed me to continue my studies in the US. Not only was I a scholarship recipient, I was also working as a work-study helper at the library.

What are the core values that you got from your education experience at ACT? How would you describe ACT in a few words?

The values I remember very well were integrity, ethics, methodical work, critical thinking, and hard work. There are others, but these are what I remember well.

How did ACT prepare you for your advanced studies and the American environment?

When I went for postgraduate studies to one of the highest-ranked universities in the States, I realized that at ACT the faculty and administration were doing an amazing job in educating students. ACT is at the equivalent or higher educational level than any University in the US. There were many students from around the globe in my class and I once more achieved valedictorian status for the MBA degree. Consequently, ACT prepared me in the best possible way for top performance in industry and postgraduate studies.

Do you have a favorite project among the ones you have worked on as a researcher or during your collaborations with major multinational companies?

I have worked with more than fifteen companies and everything was extremely interesting and challenging. One very interesting project I remember was with Johnson & Johnson, working with cloud-based data for an analytics project.

What are the essential components of a good professor in your field?

He or she should have hands-on experience in the industry to be a successful professor in the field of corporate analytics.   

What are the future trends in the design and application of business analytics models and decision support systems?

The field of business analytics will continue to grow extensively for a significant period of time because its methods and models have a tangible impact on the efficiency of the business that possesses these models giving it a definite competitive advantage over its competitors.     

How can we make the best use of Artificial intelligence in the decision support systems?

Developing processes, methods, and models that involve AI and help the corporation is not the same as utilizing a piece of technology. It will take time and effort by the data scientists to develop and fine-tune these models, such as prediction models, and this effort will be needed on a continuous basis. 

What would you advise the students who wish to pursue studies in this field?

I would say that it is well worth it, they should apply to Universities in the US, and participate in internships while they study. It is a field without limits and they can work on analytics for businesses or cyber security analytics at NASA.    

And the Greek academics and entrepreneurial community?

My top advice to both is to collaborate more; that is, businesses should make an effort to hire more interns and professors to participate in hands-on projects with businesses.  




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