Mahdi Abolghasemi is a lecturer in Data Science at Monash University, Australia. Mahdi has held visiting positions at Cardiff University and The University of Sydney. He has authored more than 20 articles and presented in more than 30 national and international conferences. He is a reviewer for several journals in forecasting, operations research and machine learning. Mahdi has won several awards for his research, teaching, and consulted a number of companies in the sales, energy, and automotive industries.

How did you become a forecaster?
I studied Industrial Engineering as an undergraduate. In my studies, I became interested in statistical thinking and its implications in the real world. I continued this path and during my masters program did research on Bayesian Networks and Foresight. During this time, I also worked as a sales forecasting expert at Hyundai Motors Company for a year. I was looking for an opportunity to continue my education, but I wanted to do something that has tangible, practical applications. I discovered a PhD project in forecasting in Australia, which I applied for and received a full scholarship at The University of Newcastle. So, I came to Australia and after finishing my PhD, moved to Monash University and continued working in forecasting.

What areas of forecasting interest you?
I like to develop forecasting models that address problems in practice. I am interested in statistical machine learning, broadly speaking, and applying that to supply chain and energy. I also like long-term forecasting in social problems, and I would like to get involved in this sometime in the future.

How has the International Institute of Forecasters influenced you?
I came across the IIF during the first year of my PhD, and I attended the International Symposium on Forecasting in 2017. I found the community welcoming, and since then I regularly attend the conference. IIF provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded researchers and practitioners. I have continued working closely with IIF in different capacities. I am a reviewer for the International Journal of Forecasting, I am the founder and co-host of the Forecasting Impact podcast which is supported by the IIF, and I work closely with IIF members.

What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy trying different sports, and I have been doing that during the last decade. In particular, I love playing football and I have played for a few clubs. I also enjoy hiking, and I go to beautiful national parks around Melbourne and Australia for long hikes whenever I have the opportunity. I like reading books and meaningful chats with friends.