Current Position: Senior Specialist, Business Intelligence and Reporting, Santander Bank, N.A.
Previous University: Northeastern University
Undergraduate Degree: Finance and management information systems
Q: Why did you decide to get your Master's in Business Analytics?
A: Partway through my undergraduate degree at Northeastern, I realized my passion was data and management information systems. After graduation, I started working at Santander doing business intelligence.
My boss there had 30 years of banking experience. He was something of a unicorn—he could code, he could digest information, and he could explain it to people at various levels within the organization. It inspired me. I was absorbing skills from him through osmosis, but I wanted to accelerate my learning and acquire a more useful skill set of my own.
Q: Did the Double Husky Scholarship factor into your decision to stay at Northeastern?
The stars aligned for me. I wanted to increase my skills, I'd heard about the new MS in Business Analytics program at Northeastern, and the Double Husky discount plus the support of my company helped it all make sense. I knew that the skills offered by the program were extremely valuable, and I was excited to be a part of the community again.
Q: How has your Master's in Business Analytics degree helped you do your job better?
A: The program helped me communicate my analysis more effectively across the organization. First of all, I became really confident working with large data sets. Documenting each step, making it repeatable. I also learned R and Python—and the larger skill of knowing how to decide the optimal use case for a tool. I was able to bring the Tableau data visualization tool to my department, which made distributing and interacting with reports so much easier. This all translated into better reporting and decision-making, which got noticed by senior leadership. As a result, I was promoted while I was in the program to a department where I could add more value.
Q: Why is understanding data analytics so important right now?
A: Companies are aggregating so much data now that they don't know what to do with it, and people in all business functions need to understand data to do their jobs. For example, modern-day product managers don't just need to know their product—they need to know how data goes into their platform, how it comes out, and how they should use it to negotiate with vendors. If a product manager can handle those basic analytical tasks, the data analysts are free to solve higher-order problems. I know I would rather be using my brainpower and man-hours crunching that really, really hard problem that no one else can do. That means my company will be able to make better business decisions, and make them faster.
Q: What advice would you give to students considering the program?
A: Data technology and business needs are changing so fast that you can't be good at just one thing. There's always going to be a new tool, a new framework. The MS in Business Analytics program will push you to pick up new skills, and that's difficult, but the experience is so valuable because it prepares you to adapt to whatever changes the digital economy brings.