The Fox School of Business recently hosted two virtual events for students planning for careers in business data analytics. The industry has seen a boom in recent years due to “big data” companies like Google, IBM and Oracle utilizing analytics to better create products for customers. Both events are examples of the real-world expertise offered to Fox students and alumni throughout their educational experience and beyond.
Careers in Data Science
“Careers in Data Science” took place on Oct. 23 and was organized by the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program. The event featured two speakers from Vanguard: Amy J. Blatt, PhD, Financial Advisor Services manager of data analytics & reporting, and Dawn Moyer, data scientist. Both speakers were invited by Samar Khan, assistant director of the MSBA and Data Science programs.
During the event, Blatt spoke about how she manages two teams of data analysts to provide reporting services to internal sales channels.
One of those data analysts is Moyer, who provided insight into her position with Vanguard. Moyer has been with Vanguard for almost 22 years after receiving her master of education in therapeutic recreational therapy at Temple University, and she has been a data scientist for under three years. Among her tasks is creating and implementing artificial intelligence strategies to assist people in retirement planning.
During Blatt’s and Moyer’s presentations, students received invaluable lessons, like working from the ground up to simply getting their foot in the door, which Moyer herself did as she started with Vanguard as an IT contractor.
“The guest speaker series was a fantastic opportunity to connect industry experts and MSBA students and alumni on a common virtual platform,” Khan says. “The students took a lot of useful advice in terms of knowledge and expertise, skills needed, career trajectory and navigating during COVID.”
The Data Science Panel
The CSPD helped the MSBA program run the “Data Science Panel,” which took place on Nov. 6. It featured a multitude of speakers across various professional organizations who answered students’ questions about the industry.
- John Clauser, Rothman Orthopedic Institute senior analyst,
- Adam Sorantino, Rothman manager of joint surgical ventures,
- Josh Berbieri, Philadelphia Phillies director of business analytics, and
- Colin May, U.S. Department of Justice bankruptcy auditor.
The panelists spoked to their experience in the medical, sports and government industries in regards to data infrastructure, business application development, business intelligence, predictive analytics, financial modeling, forecasting and other outcomes. After introductions from the panelists, students joined breakout rooms to showcase their work and network with them.
“It is very helpful if you come prepared with at least a little background and preliminary research on the company, and possibly the individuals speaking,” CSPD’s Director of Employer Partnerships Megan Panaccio instructed students prior to the event. “This will absolutely help you with impression management and getting ahead in your career.”
The panelists stressed to students that they must recognize what career goals to set for themselves. They also shared which skills are most valuable to them on the job.
“Do you want to be the leader of a process or a leader of leaders?” Sorantino, Rothman manager of joint surgical venues, asks. “If you’re drawn to the data science world, you may focus on gaining a depth of expertise. If you want to be a leader of people, being a generalist is valuable to speak the language of different functions. Be the glue that bridges gaps between them.”
Barbieri, the Phillies’ director of business analytics, says that job interviews are a showcase of how you can solve business problems. He recommends that students make use of open source data available online, as there is a plethora of data application programming interfaces (APIs), which define how data is transferred between systems, available.
Among all the panelists and speakers at both events, COVID-19 and adaptability were key topics. In the sink-or-swim nature of business, having gameplans, both personally and professionally, will lead to a brighter future.
“Being adaptable is key,” Clauser, Rothman senior analyst, says. “We built a budget from the bottom up for each business unit, and it became obsolete due to COVID-19. We had to use new information to project out through the rest of the year, adapting to new metrics and information every day, updating our models.”