Michelle McCrackin, senior manager of analytics learning and development at Delta Air Lines, never imagined that she’d be an analytics leader when she first joined the airline as an HR business partner. But, faced with the challenge of hiring outside analytics talent, she proposed a solution that would change her career path along with the paths of other Delta employees: an internal analytics training program. Delta Analytics Academy (DAA) enables front-line employees to gain in-demand tech skills and the opportunity to advance within the organization. In December 2022, DAA graduated its first cohort of 12 students, selected from a pool of 750 applicants that included gate agents, baggage handlers, flight attendants, and other operational experts interested in learning how data and analytics can be applied to process-improvement challenges. 

In this episode, Michelle joins Sam and Shervin to discuss how the program, started in partnership with Georgia State University, fits into the airline’s talent development and retention strategy. Read the episode transcript here.

Me, Myself, and AI is a collaborative podcast from MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group and is hosted by Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh. Our engineer is David Lishansky, and the coordinating producers are Allison Ryder and Sophie Rüdinger.

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Guest bio:

Michelle McCrackin is a strategy and analytics leader with over 13 years of experience in the corporate space. She worked in the consumer packaged goods and automotive industries before moving into the field of aviation, where she is currently senior manager of analytics, learning, and development at Delta Air Lines. McCrackin’s passion for raising the analytics capability across the operations and commercial functions at Delta is exhibited in creation and development of Delta Analytics Academy (DAA), a program with the objective of producing an internal talent pipeline and closing the talent gap within the analytics skill set. DAA was developed in partnership with Georgia State University based on the hypothesis that taking an industry expert and providing them with a wraparound analytics education in a condensed format would produce top-performing analytics professionals.

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