Russell Walker
Russell Walker

Clinical Associate Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences

Print Overview

Russell Walker, Ph.D. is Clinical Associate Professor at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University. Dr. Walker has expertise in Big Data and Analytics, Risk Management, and International Business Strategy. He has developed and taught leading executive programs and MBA classes on Big Data and Analytics, Strategic Data-Driven Marketing, Enterprise Risk, Operational Risk, and Global Leadership.

Russell founded and leads the Kellogg PRMIA Complete Course in Executive Education for Risk Management. He founded and teaches the popular Analytical Consulting Lab, Digital Lab, and Risk Lab, experiential classes, which bring Kellogg MBAs together with real-world projects. He was awarded the Kellogg Impact award by Kellogg MBA students for excellence and impact in teaching Enterprise Risk Management.

His is the author of the award-winning text Winning with Risk Management (World Scientific Publishing, 2013), which examines the principles and practice of risk management through business case studies. He authored the chapter Operational Risk in Insurance, as part of Risk Management in Financial Institutions (Euromoney, 2013). He is the author of, From Big Data to Big Profits: Success with Data and Analytics (Oxford University Press, 2015) that examines how firms can best monetize data assets. He has also authored many popular business cases, and the Aspen Institute, Harvard Business School Press, the Bank of England, and PRMIA have recognized his cases for excellence in showcasing lessons in risk management.

Dr. Walker has led the Kellogg Global Initiatives in Management program in Latin America and the Gulf States. His International Business Strategy research includes a comprehensive study of medical tourism opportunities for Turkey and an analysis for tourism transformation in Mexico by the Secretary of Tourism of Mexico. He leads the popular Global Lab class at Kellogg, an experiential class that brings Kellogg MBAs in touch with international business opportunities. He frequently speaks on the opportunities with the emerging global middle class and demographic shifts driving changes in international markets. He has been invited to speak at various leading international organizations including the US State Department, the World Bank, and the International Finance Corporation.

He serves on the Scientific and Technical Council for the Menus of Change, an initiative led by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America, to develop healthier and more environmentally sound food choices. He is a member of the board of the Education and Technology Committee to the Morton Arboretum. He was a board member of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he developed support programs for Hispanic entrepreneurs and worked with US senators on US Latino matters.

He has been invited to share his perspective internationally at the IESE Business School in Spain, the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, and the Indian School of Business in India.

He has advised leading firms including Microsoft, the CME Group, John Deere, IBM, Teradata, Discover Financial, Capital One Financial, PepsiCo, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Hyatt, The World Bank and The US State Department, among others.

Russell began his career with Capital One Financial, Inc., where he served as a corporate strategist specializing in the advancement of analytics in the enterprise for the purposes of improved marketing and risk management.

He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. He also holds an MS from Cornell University, an Executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a BS from the University of South Florida. Russell fluently speaks Spanish.

Dr. Walker consults with firms on the topics of Big Data and Analytics, Risk Management, and International Business Strategy.

He enjoys travel, photography, trees, and horticulture.

Russell Walker can be reached at

Areas of Expertise
Banking and Financial Institutions
Data Analytics
Database Marketing
Emerging Markets
Information Systems
International Trade
Regulation of Financial Markets
Risk Management

Print Vita
MBA, 2006, Executive MBA, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
PhD, 1999, Engineering Systems, Cornell University
MS, 1997, Engineering Systems, Cornell University
BS, 1995, Civil Engineering Systems, University of South Florida, Summa Cum Laude, University-wide Honors Student

Academic Positions
Clinical Associate Professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2010-present
Associate Director of the Zell Center for Risk Research, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2010-2013
Senior Lecturer, Assistant Director of the Zell Center for Risk Research, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2007-2010

Editorial Positions
Editorial Board Member, Journal of Enterprise Risk Management (JERM)., 2013

Print Research
Research Interests
Big Data, Analytics, Risk Management, Enterprise Risk, Operational Risk, Monetization of Data, Banking, International Business Strategy, Innovation with Analytics and Big Data, Digital Platforms

Walker, Russell. 2015. The Increasing Importance of Operational Risk in Enterprise Risk Management. The Journal of Enterprise Risk Management. 1(1)
Walker, Russell. 2013. Winning with Risk Management: Focus on Operational Risk. European Financial Review.
Walker, Russell. 2010. Role of Credit Rating Agencies as Risk Information Brokers. Prepared for the Anthony T. Cluff Fund and the Financial Services Roundtable, Presented to the US SEC and US Congress.
Walker, Russell. 2006. Partnerships in Training. Interfaces.
Walker, Russell. 2000. Long-term Variability in the Arrival Rate of Flood Events as Evidenced by Flood Clustering. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union.
Walker, Russell. 1999. A Fate and Transport Model for Cryptosporidium.. Journal of Environmental Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Book Chapters
Walker, Russell. 2013. "Operational Risk in the Insurance Industry." In Risk Management in Financial Services, Euromoney Publications.
Walker, Russell. 2013. "Operational Risk in the Insurance Industry.".
Walker, Russell and Ellen Douglas. 2003. "Identifying Hydrologic Variability and Change for Strategic Water System Planning and Design." In Monograph by the American Geophysical Union, Information Req, AGU Publications.
Walker, Russell. "Four Tips for Mitigating Risk of Cyber Crime." SAS Knowledge Exchange.
Walker, Russell. "Republic of Turkey: A Medical Tourism Destination for the United States.".
Walker, Russell. "Enterprise risk management When weathering the storm is not enough." SAS Risk Insights.
Walker, Russell. "Fortune Favours the Well-Prepared." Financial Times.
Walker, Russell. 2015. From Big Data to Big Profits: Success with Data and Analytics. New York, London: Oxford University Press.
Walker, Russell. 2014. Menus of Change Annual Report. An Initiative of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America. Menus of Change.
Walker, Russell. 2013. Menus of Change Annual Report: An intiative of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America.
Walker, Russell. 2013. Winning with Risk Management. World Scientific Publishing Company.
Schmedders, KarlRussell Walker and Michael Stritch. 2010. Arbor City Community Foundation (A): The Foundation. Case 5-310-502(A) (KEL585).
Walker, Russell. 2013. Maxxed Out: TJX Companies and the Largest-Ever Consumer Data Breach. Case 5-313-507 (KEL764).
Schmedders, KarlRussell Walker and Michael Stritch. 2010. Arbor City Community Foundation (B): Managing Good Fortune. Case 5-310-502(B) (KEL586).
Walker, Russell. 2014. Conseco: Market Assumptions and Risk. Case 5-311-509 (KEL796).
Walker, Russell. 2013. Scandal at Société Générale: Rogue Trader or Willing Accomplice?. Case 5-313-505 (KEL766).
Walker, RussellMark Jeffery, Linus So, Sripad Sriram, Jon Nathanson, Joao Ferreira and Julia Feldmeier. 2010. Netflix Leading with Data: The Emergence of Data-Driven Video. Case 5-110-006 (KEL473).
Walker, Russell and Wilson Joanna. 2012. Nokia’s Supply Chain Management. Case 5-111-007 (KEL673).

Print Teaching
Teaching Interests
Risk management, operational risk, data-driven marketing, decision sciences, statistics
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
Analytical Consulting Lab (ACL) (DECS-915-0)

This course counts toward the following majors: Decision Sciences, Managerial Analytics, and Operations

The Analytics Consulting Lab is a practicum for students interested in developing deep skills in analytics. In this course, students apply classroom concepts and techniques to a real-world analytical task in which they use data to support a managerial decision. Working in a group, students will call upon techniques and theories such as statistics, multivariate regression, optimization, stochastic simulation, decision tree analysis, time series analysis, forecasting, real options, risk analysis, data mining, and discrete event simulation. The projects, pre-approved by faculty, will touch many industries and aspects of business management.

For more information, click here to visit the ACL website.

Note: This course may not be dropped after the first week of the quarter. By application only.

Risk Lab (DECS-920-0)

The famous American Economist, Frank Knight said, “Profit is the reward for taking risk.” Dr. Knight argues that profit and risk are intertwined. In seeking profits, we must therefore seek risks that are attractive. In the Risk Lab, students examine the attractiveness of risk in a real-world investment decision.

The Risk Lab is an experiential learning course, focused on evaluation of risks facing a company or business venture. Students will develop skills in performing risk evaluations in real-world settings. Special emphasis will be given to the investment in the venture, the risks and their impacts, and how to best communicate the impacts of risk when evaluating an investment decision.

Projects in the Risk Lab are sponsored by companies, offering students exposure to real-world business challenges, complete with complexities and other realities. The focus of evaluation in these real-world settings is not necessarily to avoid risk or even to directly reduce it, but rather to understand the risk and evaluate its properties, for the purpose of investment consideration. Such examinations may include, for instance, the impact of international economic changes, market trends, policy adjustments, and competitive action, etc. on the enterprise and its profit. The goal of the class is to develop skills in identifying risks, evaluating the nature and impact of risks, and gaining experience in communicating the impact of those risks in the context of an investment decisions.

The course will focus on using analytical techniques (such as forecasting, regression analysis, simulation, sensitivity analysis, and scenario analysis) to evaluate the impact of identified risks on the enterprise. Teams are expected to develop risk models in a spreadsheet environment and may also be required to research industry and international trends to provide measures of risk indicators.

For more information, please click here to visit the Risk Lab website.

Note: This course may not be dropped after the first week of the quarter.

Analyzing and Operating Digital Platforms (DECS-925-0)
Digital platforms have increased in importance to many firms, given the ubiquitous rise of mobile devices, apps, and the detailed and high velocity of data capture now enabled. The movement from Internet sites to mobile applications has also changed the nature of data capture. Machine to machine data creation and the Internet of Things has created a whole space of data creation void of human interaction or even initiation. Such passively gathered data provides novel opportunities for firms. Firms collecting data passively from consumers may encounter legal or ethical roadblocks, but are sure to find new insights in the data, making evaluation of the legal and ethical roadblocks an important part of operating digital platforms.

Indeed, many firms have arisen as strictly digital platform companies, with the goal of creating data assets. Examples like Foursquare, Pinterest, and even social media sites are some of the most well known. The value of data created by digital platforms has unleashed a plethora of start-up firms, with great interest in the measurement of personal health, personal habits, shopping patterns, driving patterns, and even moods. The opportunities to monetize such novel data through business transactions and business operations requires an analysis of the data and its economic importance.

This class will examine real-world digital platform firms (such as healthcare apps, media apps, payment apps, and shopper tracker apps). The class will focus the examination and analysis of data created by these digital platforms and subsequent business decisions to be made about the use and monetization of the data. The class will have a lecture component and an experiential component (as in a Kellogg lab). In this blended-lab approach, 1) the student is exposed to up-to-date frameworks and analytical capabilities used in digital platforms and 2) can apply these in a real-world setting.

Pre-Requisite: DECS Core or equivalent.

Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) (INTL-473-0)

This course counts toward the following majors: International Business

This course offers students an opportunity to learn about non-U.S. business environments within an innovative and flexible framework that combines traditional classroom-based learning with structured in-country field research. From its inception in 1989 as one class of 34 students covering the Soviet Union, the program has grown to become a cornerstone of the Kellogg experience for many students. The school currently sponsors 13 GIM courses composed of approximately 400 students traveling to 15 countries. Evanston full-time students gain admission to GIM classes through the bidding process in the fall quarter. Classroom instruction is held during the winter quarter, followed by two weeks of field research abroad and seminar presentations of written student reports during the spring quarter. (TMP and EMP GIM classes sometimes follow different schedules.) GIM courses are organized by student leaders under the guidance of a faculty adviser. If you would like to become a GIM student leader, please contact the IBMP office for more information.

Global Lab (G-Lab) (INTL-915-0)

This course counts toward the following majors: International Business.

This experiential learning course provides a hands-on opportunity for students to apply classroom knowledge to a real-world problem. In the Global Lab course, four or five students complete an international consulting project for a host company during the winter quarter that culminates in two weeks of on-site research and presentation to senior management. The host company and student team work together to determine the project's scope and parameters, and the team completes each week's research by meeting with an expert faculty adviser. The host company provides feedback that is used in grading students and covers travel expenses for the on-site visit.

Students must have completed all core courses with the exception of OPNS-430 which can be taken concurrently in the Winter quarter. For practical purposes, this limits enrollment to students in their second year of the full-time program and those in the one-year program. Part-time program students who have fulfilled their core requirements are also eligible to take the course.

For more information, click here to visit the Global Lab website.

Note: This course may not be dropped after the first week of the quarter.

Enterprise Risk Management (OPNS-923-0)

This course counts toward the following majors: Operations, Managerial Analytics

In Enterprise Risk Management, we develop a holistic approach to the identification and management of risks facing an organization. Typically recognized forms of risk, such as Operational Risk, Credit Risk and Market Risk are explored in detail. The impact of shocks to enterprises and the role of liquidity risk and the importance of protecting against it are reviewed. The role of operational risks, such as those a rising from reliance on complex systems, outsourcers, international supply chains, lean processes, and external shocks pose perhaps the greatest risk to firms in the post-globalization era and are reviewed accordingly. This course provides frameworks for identifying, quantifying, and managing risks to the overall enterprise and offers direction on the formulation of a successful risk office and its appropriate integration with corporate strategy.

Executive Education
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