Location: San Francisco, California
Occupation: Associate analyst at Walmart Global eCommerce
Education: B.S. in business/managerial economics and statistics from University of California, Davis
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have lived and grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 20 years. I went to the University of California Davis for my undergrad, where I recently earned a B.S. in Managerial Economics and Statistics. Currently, I work for Walmart eCommerce as an associate analyst in supply chain. I enjoy painting and photography in my free time along with spending time with friends and family.
What initially attracted you to the data science field?
During my undergraduate career, I was given the opportunity to work as a research assistant with one of my statistics professors. We used data mining techniques to forecast the amount of solar energy in the Pacific Northwest. This was my first exposure to the data science field, and I have been eager to learn more ever since.
Why did you decide to pursue a Master of Science in Data Science?
I made the decision to pursue a Master of Science in Data Science because I knew it would be applicable to a plethora of industries. It would also build upon my background in statistics and allow me to improve my technical skills. I hope to continue building my career in this field to get better at extracting actionable insights to drive business decisions.
Why did you choose DataScience@SMU?
I chose DataScience@SMU because of the wide variety of courses that were offered. SMU’s course offerings appealed to me the most in comparison to other data science programs. I was also looking for an interactive online program.
Which skills and tools that the program covers do you find most appealing? Why?
The course I enjoyed the most during the program was data mining. Although it was the most challenging course, we were able to learn and apply many different techniques using Python and R. The skills I acquired will be beneficial toward my career.
How are you able to apply what you are learning to your current position?
Throughout this program, I was able to utilize some of the new models and visualization techniques learned in class and apply them to my current position. I’ve also learned how to effectively handle massive amounts of data, which is incredibly useful for those in an analytical role.
What surprised you most about the online learning environment?
The most surprising element of SMU’s online learning environment was the high level of interactivity. Although the program was entirely online, I always felt a connection to the professors and my peers because we had the opportunity to work on plenty of group projects. The most important part was that the professors were always available to help and responsive to emails. If I had questions, there was always someone I could turn to for help.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
The most important piece of advice I would give to prospective students is to interact with your classmates often because learning also occurs through your peers. Throughout this program, I’ve had the chance to meet many people with diverse professional backgrounds. Learning about their unique experiences and skills has been an additional benefit of the program.