Alumni in Action: Jackson Perry ’20

Jackson Perry ’20, came to the Institute after completing his undergraduate studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. After graduating, Jackson went on to work for the Advanced Analytics Group at Bain & Company based out of Boston, MA. For 2020 graduates, the transition from graduate school to the working world was different from what they might have expected. Jackson recently shared his experience with us along with some words of support for future MSA students.

What initially attracted you to analytics and why did you choose the MSA program for your training?

I’ve always been a math nerd, but I never knew what I could use my passion for other than teaching or actuarial science. It wasn’t until I took a data analytics course in undergrad that I saw potential to use my interest in math and statistics to solve real problems. I was immediately hooked. Analytics marries a variety of my passions, but most importantly lets me have a tangible impact on big decisions made in a variety of industries. Once I saw what analytics could do, I wanted to learn more. The MSA program stood out as the premier opportunity to hone my skills, contribute to a meaningful project, and learn from an exceptional faculty and staff.

What is your greatest highlight from your time in the MSA program?

The highlight of my time in the MSA program was definitely giving our final presentation of the practicum to our sponsor, Trillium Health Resources. Over the course of our 8-month project, we had worked tirelessly to build a model that could predict a member’s risk of suicide or self-harm. With the growing epidemic of mental health crises, our team understood the importance of this work and the potential impact it could have. Those stakes made our results even more meaningful – the sense of pride we had after presenting will stick with me for years to come.

What priorities did you have in place, if any, during the job search process? How does your current employer meet them?

Because I came directly to the MSA from undergrad, I was most looking to gain experience and exposure with my first job. I wanted to find somewhere I could continue to learn and grow while seeing a variety of work. I was also looking for a relatively mature analytics group from whom I could learn and get advice. The Advanced Analytics Group at Bain & Company has checked all my priorities. We have a mature and diverse group of data scientists who have helped me hone my skills. The work we do is fast-paced and spans a multitude of industries. No two cases at Bain are exactly the same, challenging me to think creatively and discover new corners of analytics.

Your class quickly transitioned to virtual learning after spring break in 2020 right in the midst of the job search. How do you feel that transition went and what impact did it have on your outcomes?

Jackson Perry (second from right) with his practicum teammates, kicking off their project with Trillium in Greenville, NC – September 2019

The transition was challenging in some ways but came at an opportune time in the curriculum. We were winding down most of the academic work, so we had very few lectures remaining to be done virtually. The main hurdles were the job search and preparation for the practicum presentation. Many employers dragged their feet in making offers or even withdrew. I was lucky enough to have had an offer prior to spring break, which I accepted only a few days before the shutdown. As far as impact on our practicum presentation, we were still able to deliver great results to our sponsor and remain connected as a team in the virtual setting.

Many 2020 graduates began their careers virtually. Are you currently working from home? If so, what has the onboarding and settling process been like for you?

I am currently working from home and have been since starting in July 2020. By the time I started work, I had already been acquainted with Zoom and other virtual tools for a few months. This made the onboarding process a little more seamless. Bain developed a great onboarding program that included a variety of trainings, experience shares, and social events over Zoom. Despite the Zoom fatigue, the onboarding allowed me to meet many more of my coworkers than I would have in-person. The most challenging part of remote work has been the isolation. However, social events do a good job of maintaining connections with coworkers and friends despite the physical distance.

Do you have any advice to students currently in the program or those considering applying?

To the students currently in the program, my advice is to take full advantage of the amazing human capital at the IAA. It’s extremely rare to have such a wealth of knowledge and experience in one spot. Draw on others’ experiences, chat about their stories, and do your best to make social connections, and your takeaways from the program will be exponentially better. To students considering applying, there simply isn’t a better investment you could make. If analytics is your passion and you are willing to work hard to improve at it, the IAA is the best springboard out there to propel you to a successful and fulfilling career.