An alumni panel discusses how their time in the program gave them the skills not just to work with data, but to network and interview effectively as well.
The Master of Science in Analytics (MScA) program alums drawn from the consulting, financial services, insurance, and healthcare industries spoke to their experiencein the program and the many ways it prepared them for the real world and their careers. “The enthusiasm the panelists had for their careers was palpable and really spoke for itself. Everyone had great insight and advice to share with the audience of present and prospective students who came prepared to learn more about the career possibilities opened up by an MScA degree,” said Mary Morley Cohen, associate dean for professional programs. With discussion ranging across all aspects of an MScA education, including advice on interviewing and networking, as well as staying current with the latest trends in data analytics, the panelists brought their real-world experience to bear on the value oftheir time in the MScA program and the variety of ways they’d translated their experiences to success in their professional lives. “You can really see the quality of a person who’s gone through the MScA program at UChicago,” said Umair Uddin, MScA ’16 and vice president with Credit Suisse. “You see it in the depth of their knowledge and their ability to understand core concepts.”
A Word of Advice
Whether it was connecting with their future employers through the MScA career fair, or the strategies the panelists shared for preparing and staying calm before interviews, those in the audience received a broad array of valuable advice, much of which they were able to put into practice during the networking portion of the evening that followed. “Get to know each other,” recommended Pratik Agrawal, MScA ’16, advanced analytics team manager with BCG, and current student at Chicago Booth. “The backgrounds and experience of your classmates are full of valuable lessons and you won’t have a chance to be all together again once you graduate.” TJ Jiang, MScA ’17, a business analytics consultant with Allstate, agreed fully. Explaining how she arrived at the program without much professional experience, she said, “Learning from other students who brought their expertise to classes and group projects was an extremely valuable part of the program for me."
"You can really see the quality of a person who’s gone through the MScA program at UChicago. You see it in the depth of their knowledge and their ability to understand core concepts.”
The Art of Networking
On the topic of networking more generally, many significant lessons were shared, with all the panelists relating what their experience had shown them to be both the common pitfalls to avoid as well as important strategies to make yourself stand out. From never asking for a job on a first encounter to cultivating yourself as a brand or setting concrete goals for every event you attend, there was as much agreement concerning the discomfort networking can sometimes give rise to as there was concerning the advantages that come with doing it well. “Don’t think about networking as a matter of needing to ask another person for something,” said Wayne Luan, MScA ’17 and manager with the Claro Group. “Approaching it with the right mentality involves genuinely wantingto learn what other people are doing. Networking is an excellent way to learn about what’s out there and how it relates to you and your particular trajectory.” A theme returning again and again throughout the panelist’s comments involved the rapid pace of change across the analytics industry and the excellent opportunities to stay abreast of these changes offered by the MScA program.
The Key to Continuing Education
“Learning doesn’t stop when you leave the MScA program,” said Milan McGraw, MScA ’16 and senior operations manager with Groupon. “With new programs being added that keep pace with the changes happening in analytics, you’ll want to keep coming back to get up to speed and re-tool your personal skill set.” With offerings like Data Analytics for Business Professionals continuing to inform MScA graduate’s experience years down the road, Akshay Chhabra, MScA ’16, an analytics specialist with McKinsey, spoke to a different aspect of the degree’s value that emerges a little down the line. “You’re not just part of the MScA program,” he said, “but a part of the University of Chicago. The set of principles that the University stands for, such as free expression and unfettered debate, is something that CEOs will bring up when meeting with me. To stand for something like that is something that makes me proud.”