Smarter Every Day: How Students Achieve Success at the IAA

Students at the Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) program go on to achieve great things, but how do they get to that point?

The outcomes may seem unreachable in the beginning, but by learning a bit every day, students grow exponentially in all areas of being data scientists. Learning a little something every day, gaining experience in different skillsets all the time, and valuing all interactions with peers and faculty, is what brings us to success

My background is in statistics and music, so coming into the program, I felt relatively confident in my chances of success. I knew there were things for me to learn in statistics, but with my strong background, I felt I had the skills and a successful approach to learn. I think my knowledge and previous experiences helped me get there — I have an appreciation for the time and practice it takes to learn and an interest in many different fields, a necessary skill for many data professionals. When I was studying music, the most impactful thing a teacher ever said to me was,

“Don’t aim for a specific practice goal each day, 
just get the instrument out of the case and start playing.”

Taking this approach to learning, especially at the Institute, has helped me immensely so far. 

Institute classes are structured such that different material is delivered every day, spanning different aspects of being an analytics professional. A sample day may include communication training, statistical coding, and best practices for ethical data science. Even me writing this blog right now is part of this curriculum. Every day I am learning something in the classroom, from my teammates, or from a company visit. Over time, we continue to learn, build, and apply skills, creating an effective algorithm for continuous growth. 

Every moment at the Institute is dedicated to learning and growing, and that shows through our work in and out of the classroom. There is value in every lecture, faculty member, guest speaker, and most of all in interactions with fellow students. While we all come in with different skills, this process leads everyone to immense growth, and looking back, it is incredible to see how much we have learned already. 

Here are five things I have learned at the Institute that I had never truly experienced before:

  • Effective collaboration on analytics projects in a team
  • SAS programming and certification
  • Conflict management in a team on a long-term project
  • Time-series analysis with a variety of models
  • Effective slide design for technical communication

Working on these things a bit at a time, whether in class or at home, has already made me feel so much more confident and well-rounded as a future data professional. I love how the Institute embraces this smarter every day approach, and I can’t wait to experience the rest of the semester!

Columnist: Max Inman