My name is Rafael Ballester, and I’m from the area of Valencia in Spain. Before becoming a full-time assistant professor of Data Science at IE University, I earned my degree in Math and Computer Science at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Later, I furthered my studies at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, where I got my PhD in Computer Science.
When I’m not carrying out research or encouraging my students throughout their data-science journey, I enjoy playing the piano, hiking and going bouldering. IE University’s emphasis on flexibility and a growth mindset has allowed me to weave my interests into my professional advancement, and this freedom has had such a positive impact on me during my time at the university.
"At IE University we constantly update our courses to incorporate the latest trends and tools that are getting traction outside the classroom."
Develop close relationships with each other by contributing as a team
From Catalonia, Spain, where he graduated with a degree in Math and Computer Science from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, to Switzerland where he earned his doctorate degree in Computer Science from the University of Zurich, Rafael’s educational journey has taken him all over.
Now in Madrid as a full-time assistant professor of Data Science at IE University, he guides his students on their own educational journey in the two courses he teaches within the Data and Business Analytics program. In Data Insights and Visualization, he introduces students to the basics of programming and prepares them for their first interactive visualization of real-world data sets. Rafael recognizes that this journey with his students is especially rewarding because it is here where they realize they can harness the skills of data analysis.
In the Advanced Data Structures and Storage course, he works with second-year students as they build on their programming skills. Focusing primarily on Python, he pushes them to delve into databases and enterprise data management.
In line with the spirit of the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics, Rafael ensures that his students gain as much hands-on practice as possible. Thanks to the flexibility that IE University gives him, he can include plenty of practical exercises, and opportunities for exploration and experimentation that foster his students’ creative thinking.
From concepts to algorithms and data analysis tricks, everything that he works on with his students inside the classroom prepares them for the real-world demands of today. With a focus on teamwork, he creates an open atmosphere in his classes, encouraging every student to contribute. Rafael says that this mindset allows everyone to develop a close relationship with each other—in his eyes, one of the standout characteristics of IE University.
For Rafael, being a full-time professor means going beyond teaching in the classroom. He also carries out applied research in data science, machine learning and data visualization. He says that he enjoys the flexibility and tools that IE University gives him to shape and share his professional interests on the international stage while collaborating with top industry partners.
Off campus, Rafael enjoys bringing out his creative and active sides. He plays the piano, and goes bouldering and hiking. It’s this drive to always be doing more that Rafael wants to instill in his students going forward. “Future students of the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics should rest assured that we always stay on the cutting edge. We constantly update our courses to incorporate the latest trends and tools that are getting traction outside the classroom,” he concluded.