Anna Jacobson

Anna Jacobson

MIDS Student

Focus

Using data to transform the way we deliver building projects in the future.

Specialization

Consulting
Data Science
Project Management
User Experience Design & Research

Biography

My love of numbers goes far back into my childhood, when my study of algebra, geometry, and calculus were accelerated several years beyond my grade level. As an undergraduate, I chose to study structural engineering because it gave me the opportunity to continue to explore mathematics and data in conjunction with practical, real-world problem-solving: the design of structures. I loved the detail and logic and rigor of my engineering studies. I loved the confidence it gave me that answers could always be found by anyone willing to put in the hard work to find them. And I loved that my work would help to create something tangible, immediately useful, and perhaps even beautiful.

After college, I started my career as a structural engineer but quickly realized that my true calling was in construction management – I thrived on the energy of the jobsite, helping buildings be built before my very eyes. The single-minded focus of engineering was not nearly as compelling to me as the fast-paced, complex, multidisciplinary world of construction management, which at its core is professional problem-solving. On any given day, my job requires that I effectively combine math and finance, data analysis, research, technical writing, business acumen, legal knowledge, and persuasive communication. After 17 years in the field, I still find the process of creating a work of architecture to be challenging, fascinating, and exhilarating.

For the past seven years, the focus of my career has shifted from on-site project management to project planning, in a new role that I helped to create in my company. This emphasis has illuminated for me the potential that data has to fundamentally transform the way we deliver projects in the future, increasing not only productivity and overall efficiency, but also the quality of the built environment around us. Through my work, I have developed a clear vision for how this transformation can happen, with rigorous analysis in the early stages of design and planning, when good choices can be leveraged powerfully to the entire project life-cycle.  There are many others who share in this vision, and I believe that my industry is rapidly approaching an inflection point in its trajectory where the traditional, instinct-driven decision-making processes will give way to more data-informed, analysis-based approaches.

 

Last updated:

July 2, 2020