What's Next In podcast: Raj Seshadri and the power of data

June 2, 2021 | By Anthony Venutolo

What comes with three billion cards with 90 billion transactions a year at roughly 70 million merchants in 210 countries and territories?


On the latest episode of our podcast “What’s Next In,” Raj Seshadri, Mastercard’s president for Data and Services, explains how the company draws on real-time data-driven insights and proprietary analysis to empower its customers to make smarter decisions for better outcomes.

Hosted by Arthur Baker, each episode of “What’s Next In” informally explores big ideas and trends in the world of payments technology and beyond. In this episode, Seshadri and Baker chatted about her early dreams of being a doctor, the implications of doing business in a data-driven world, and how a company like Mastercard can build better outcomes for not only customers but communities. 

Data and Services drives our expansive set of solutions that go beyond the transfer of money, including insights, analytics and consulting; consumer loyalty and marketing services; risk management; and innovation services. "The customer is at the center," she says. "And we always start with the problem statement of 'what is the customer trying to do?'" In trying to solve for that, she says Mastercard takes a four-pronged approach when it comes its data innovation: discover, recommend, act and improve.

In fact, it was Mastercard insights that helped shape customer experiences during the beginning of pandemic with the company's Test & Learn platform. When consumer needs — and behavior patterns — changed early in the pandemic, the initial hypothesis made by a major grocery chain was that they should stock the biggest, most centralized stores. Mastercard analysis suggested otherwise. "It turned out it was the smaller stores," she says, bringing needed groceries to the residential communities as people stayed home. Test & Learn insights also went on to determine such factors as optimum store hours for restocking and access for the elderly.

"All of the factors that were part of our experiences were things that were thought through early in the pandemic, and Test & Learn had a big role to play." 

Listen to the full conversation by streaming it directly now, or by subscribing to “What’s Next In” on Apple Podcasts here.

Anthony Venutolo, Manager, Global Communications