MSA (Most Strategic Advice) for MSA

Time is flying as the class of 2017 prepares to walk across the graduation stage; the Class of 2018 will soon be making its way through the IAA doors (just don’t forget your Datawatch cards). As our transition to the professional world gains momentum, reflecting on my journey through the program has revealed a tremendous amount of growth academically and professionally.

Most Strategic Advice (MSA) to truly “master” the MSA program.

Photo Credit: Laura Ladrie

Time is of The Essence

  • Ten months passes by quickly—pace yourself and make the most of your time here!
  • Take fruitful study breaks: enroll in free campus gym classes with classmates, work on outside projects, read the news, or research industries for which you would like to work
  • Prioritize a little time each week to recharge, such as spending quality time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, or the occasional Netflix episode
  • Only schedule meetings when necessary and make every meeting minute productive
  • Keep an eye on business casual and suit sales now so you are ready to dress for success from day one at an affordable price

Build Relationships

  • The Institute is a place to be surrounded by some of the most intelligent and experienced people out there—everyone brings a unique perspective and is equally awesome
  • Make the effort to get to know your classmates and learn about their backgrounds and experiences
  • Chat with faculty and staff outside of class and discover what other interests and expertise they have
  • Grow and strengthen your network by reaching out to alumni and potential employers
  • Always be willing to ask for advice

“Trust in the Process”

  • Put forth full effort, do a trust fall with the Institute process, and find that it will always catch you
  • All faculty and staff members are willing to go the extra mile to help students succeed
  • The Institute has students’ best interests at heart
  • Trust in your practicum teams, homework teams, and yourself
  • Don’t get discouraged and keep moving forward—there are plenty of opportunities waiting around the corner!

Preparation is Key

  • An abundance of resources is at your disposal—make good use of office hours, conference rooms, library reservations, and the bookcases by the faculty offices
  • Faculty, staff, and peers want to share their knowledge and it is okay to ask questions
  • Google Tools are your friends: Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Inbox App
  • OneNote is also a great ally and CTRL+F a wonderful keyboard command
  • Make use of the Summer Primer and brush up on your coding skills throughout the semesters using online resources
  • There are two coffee shops on campus and food trucks right next to the Institute for caffeine and study sustenance

Keep an Open Mind

  • The curriculum at the Institute covers a wide range of analytics fields and they are all interesting in their own ways
  • Listen intently to the details of different career options and you may uncover a new interest or passion
  • Do not be afraid to try something new and go in a different direction from your previous background
  • Be as flexible as possible to maximize opportunities
  • Be mindful of what is versus what is not in your control

A special thanks to Emmy Burnett, David Jordan, Zack Schwartz, Logan Teal, and Dustin Wicker for their contributions from the Class of 2017, as well as alumni who were kind enough to compile their advice for us over the years. If you find these tips interesting, you’ll be delighted to learn that the Institute has been gathering outgoing student tips for incoming students since 2011. Reflecting upon and analyzing these tips is one of the most valuable things new students experience in the summer at the beginning of bootcamp.
Columnist: Clare Burns