Analytics Program Faculty
Dr. Scott M. Shafer
Associate Dean of the MSBA Programs; Professor of Management
Dr. Scott Shafer is Associate Dean of Business Analytics and Professor of Management at the Wake Forest University School of Business. His research interests include cellular manufacturing, computer simulation, six sigma, business models, and supply chain management.
Shafer is co-author of the books Operations Management: A Process Based Approach with Spreadsheets, Operations Management for MBAs, 6th Edition, Project Management in Practice, 6th Edition, Project Management: A Managerial Approach, 10th Edition, and Quantitative Business Modeling. He was also certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt by the American Society for Quality and was Certified in Production and Inventory Management by the APICS.
He received his undergraduate degree in industrial management, a BAA in marketing, and his PhD in Operations Management, Information Management from the University of Cincinnati.
Professor of the Practice
Mike Ames is a Professor of the Practice at Wake Forest University, teaching courses including Analytics Software Technology. His areas of specialization include software development, software engineering, product management, predictive analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), data science, deep learning, TensorFlow, MXNet, Spark, cloud, data visualization, fraud and compliance, and thought leadership.
Professionally he is a software leader who has focused on the development of data and analytic products and solutions for over 15 years. He has led teams of data scientists and solution engineers, focused on new and novel uses of machine learning and AI. His charter is to simplify the complex, focus on performance, design with the end in mind, and shine a light on the black box.
He has conceived and brought to market over a dozen new products and solutions ranging from data- and decision-management tools to real-time investigative solutions to combat fraud. He has led R&D organizations to develop fraud and compliance solutions, as well as product management groups focused on data management, data science, and fraud solutions.
Ames received his BBA in Economics from the University of Georgia and MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Tonya Balan
Associate Teaching Professor
Dr. Tonya Etchison Balan is an Associate Teaching Professor in the School of Business at Wake Forest University. She received her undergraduate degree in mathematics and her PhD in Statistics from North Carolina State University. Dr. Balan has extensive experience as a practicing statistician working with customers in such diverse industries as health care, retail, financial services, government, and consumer packaged goods.
Prior to joining Wake Forest, Balan was on the faculty of North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management. She also spent 10 years as Director of Analytics Product Management at SAS Institute where her team was responsible for providing strategic direction for all aspects of the development and deployment of SAS’ suite of analytics products. Dr. Balan is something of a foodie and enjoys cooking and trying new recipes and cuisines. She also enjoys playing the piano and traveling the world with her family.
Professor Howard serves as an Assistant Professor of finance at Wake Forest University’s School of Business and is the Joseph M. Bryan Fellow in Banking and Finance. Professor Howard is also a senior research associate at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, where he is a lead quantitative analyst for the Active Management Research Alliance.
Professor Howard’s research spans international finance, monetary policy and alternative investments. His research has been presented at top conferences, including the AEA, AFA, CICF, FMA, NBER and WFA and published in the American Economic Review and the Review of Financial Studies. Recently his work has been featured in Bloomberg, Risk.net and Yahoo! Finance and awarded the 2019-2020 Unigestion Alternative Risk Premia research academy project.
Professor Howard teaches Corporate Finance, Quantitative Finance and International Finance in the undergraduate finance program and Financial Analytics in the Masters in Business Analytics program. Professor Howard received 2018-2019 T.B. Rose Fellowship in Business Teaching Award for pedagogical innovation.
Professor Howard earned a PhD in finance from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in Statistics and Operations Research, and a bachelor’s of science degree with highest honors in Mathematical Decision Sciences from the Department of Statistics and Operations Research at UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to graduate school, Professor Howard worked as an actuary at Cigna.
Professor of the Practice at the Wake Forest School of Business, serves as Executive Director for the Center for Analytics Impact (CAI). The Center has both research and educational missions. For research, the Center examines factors that lead to the successful application of analytics to improve the leadership and operations of organizations. In education, the Center supports Wake Forest students, alumni, and the broader community with educational opportunities and curricular and co-curricular experiential learning programs.
Prior to Wake Forest, Shannon served as the Director of Strategic Engagement with the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, taught in the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA program, and served as a Faculty Advisor in Kenan-Flagler’s STAR program. The RENCI role entailed serving as Deputy Director for the NSF-funded South Big Data Hub (SBDH) and Executive Director of the National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS) where he worked with Research Teams and Working Groups to further data science in North Carolina and nationally.
Shannon’s research interests include the impact of analytics on organizational effectiveness and economic development, applying assurance of learning standards in project-based experiential learning courses, and structured problem-solving in uncertain and ambiguous circumstances. He has 25 years of executive experience in sales, marketing, and general management, with extensive expertise in growth strategies, new products, and strategic planning.
As a consultant, Shannon has worked in interim senior management roles for companies going through restructuring or strategic repositioning in the textiles space. Previously, a Vice President at Hanesbrands, Shannon worked closely with key retailers including Walmart, Target, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Costco, and Victoria’s Secret.
As an entrepreneur, Shannon has worked with start-up companies and with new divisions of larger companies. His work has included starting eCommerce sites in the US and China and raising capital for medical products companies. He works as a mentor at Winston Starts, an accelerator for entrepreneurs in Winston Salem.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Williams College and an MBA from The Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.