Department of Statistics Unitmark
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Maksim Horowitz

What is your name?
Maksim Horowitz

What was your graduation year?
2016

What were your major(s)/minor(s)?
Economics and Statistics, Minor in Business Administration

Where are you currently working or in school? What is your job title (if any)?
Basketball Analytics Specialist, National Basketball Association

Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
Originally from Brooklyn, currently live in Brooklyn

What drew you to the Carnegie Mellon Statistics program?
Three main things drew me to the statistics program at CMU: my desire to learn more about predictive modeling and its use case in sports, my love for math, and the professors. I declared my major as Economics and Statistics after my fall semester during my Freshman year in large part because of the wonderful experience I had taking 36-201 with Professor Gordon Weinberg. Since then, I haven't once doubted my decision.

What was your favorite Statistics class or project? Which class do you wish you had taken?
In all honestly, I enjoyed every statistics class that I took. My two favorites were 36-402 Advanced Data Analysis and 36-315 Statistical Graphics and Visualization. I wish I had taken more Statistics and Machine Learning courses and a few more probability theory courses.

Describe any research experiences or internships you had while at CMU. What did you like best about them?
While all of my internships were fantastic experiences in their own right, my internships with the New York Mets doing Business Analytics was one of my favorite experiences. I was able to get my first taste of what it is like to work in the sports industry while applying many of the advanced statistical and regression techniques I learned in class. On the research side of things, I spend a large portion of my spring semester during my senior year focusing on football analytics research with Professor Sam Ventura. The research we did helped me advance my understanding of the application of statistics in sports and it allowed me to develop my programming and communication skills.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you end up in your current job/school?
I found out about an opening in the Basketball Analytics group at the National Basketball Association through a person I was connected with during my time at the Mets. After applying, I went through several rounds of interviews and soon after was offered the position. I began almost immediately after graduation. Leveraging my network in the sports industry played a huge role in many of the interviews I landed as I searched for jobs my senior year.

Tell us about any CMU student clubs or organizations in which you were involved.
At CMU, I founded the Carnegie Mellon Sports Analytics Club (CMSAC) with a few of my classmates. Early on, I knew sports was a passion of mine, and with a number of other interested students and professors, we were able to get the club off the ground. Since then, CMSAC has grown tremendously and has led a few members to land jobs in the sports industry as well as provide sports related research opportunities for our current members. On campus, I was also involved in intramural sports, event planning, and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha.

What advice would you give to an incoming student or new Statistics major?
Take full advantage of your years as a college student! Make sure to always try new things, embrace new experiences, and get out of your comfort zone! Try to attend as many plays/performances by our musical theater and drama majors, they are so much fun. Also, explore Pittsburgh, it is such an underrated city and I didn't fully appreciate all it had to offer until my senior year.

In terms of academics, don't be afraid to ask for help. The professors and TAs in the Statistics department are friendly and always ready to help you understand especially if you show the initiative and interest. Don't be afraid to build relationships with your professors as they may know about interesting internships/research opportunities and may share some of your interests, especially in regards to problem solving with data.

How do you like to spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
In my free time I enjoy watching sports, playing sports and exercising in general, reading, listening to music/attending concerts, and hiking/being outdoors. I also always make sure to have a personal research project (or multiple) on the side in order to keep me active and working on things that interest me outside of my job.

Which movie or TV character best matches your Statistics/Data Science personality?
Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights

If you could be any statistical distribution, which one would you be and why?
A Gamma distribution because I'm always positive, have no upper limit, and can take on any value between 0 to infinity.