MS&E235 Internet Commerce course in Stanford

Monday, June 15, 2009

Finally after a grueling past couple of months, I completed my first course in Stanford, Internet Commerce (MS&E235) taught by Prof.Ashish Goel, it was a very interesting one, the learning part was mainly focused on the mathematics and economics of Internet commerce and its applications with a team project.

Let me dig little deep into it, Internet Commerce has evolved over the years with online advertising growing as a profitable business model, its easy for any small scale industry to grow by connecting with their customers online, with Social Networking, Web 2.0 getting widespread acceptance, now its possible to explore the length and breadth of opportunities online in a cost effective way than traditional commerce.

The way Google has reinvented search and influenced millions, so was the growth of Internet commerce and given its importance, this course can be very strategic for anyone who wants to explore the world of Internet commerce, There are lots of interesting concepts I learnt, some of them worth mentioning were

1. Advertising and Auctions: Here the focus was primarily on CPC/CPM based ads, first price/second price/next price/laddered auctions, the way bids are ordered based on several factors like bidding price and quality scores, how positioning affects CTR, etc.

2. Long tails: This is a fundamental concept which anyone should be aware of, the long tails is a business strategy which ensures that the least popular business items are also sold based on individual's interest, as one can see that these things contribute to the business greatly as it was shown that 25% of Google searches were unique (or 1 in 4) and these were influential to their business, more about long tails can be found here.

3. Page rank: This is the highlight of the course where you will learn in detail about Google's unique idea of page rank where web pages are assigned a reputation score which not only helps to identify top results for web searches, but also makes it effective to order and retrieve pages based on their rank, it always helps to learn more about the paper published by stalwarts like Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Rajeev Motwani.

4. Reputation and Recommendation systems: These days where competitive business advantage depends mainly on reputation and recommendation systems, this is another vital area which was covered quite extensively, some of the examples are page rank and HITS.

The practical problems solved were quite intriguing and the feeling after cracking them was something similar to solving a research problem, if you are in advertising/E-business profession, then it is for you, I will also blog about the concepts mentioned above to have a handy online reference, keep visiting.


Anonymous said...

I am interested in knowing more about graduate certificate in management science and engineering at Stanford.
1) If we have to do a course in the graduate certificate then I see that a lot of courses need prerequisite courses to be completed. So did you end up doing a lot of courses.or did you show your transcripts from your previous college degrees as proof of knowledge of the prerequistes.
2) How competitive is it to get into the Graduate certificate course? What is the applicant to enrollee ratio approximately.
Please let me know.

Prasanna Seshadri said...

The prerequisites are recommended, but not needed if you have already learnt some of them in your bachelors, getting into the course requires an approved application, but if you have the background for the course, it's very easy to get through, for getting a good grade, you need to really work hard.


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