Why I Came to Grad School

After graduating with a B.S. in Statistics and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from NC State University, I decided to go to graduate school rather than straight into a full-time job. As I worked toward my undergraduate degree, I took many elective courses while taking the required degree courses simultaneously, and I felt as if I was not able to fully devote my time to the area where I wanted to grow. Although I found my love for data and programming, and I had learned a lot through my undergraduate studies and through the two internships (Statistical Programmer for IQVIA and as a Data Intern for the E.M.A.S. Department for NC State), I wanted more. 

I chose the Institute for Advanced Analytics because I could focus on analytics for 10 months straight and not have to worry about elective classes. I knew that the Institute, given its great reputation, would be a place where I would be challenged and be able to develop much-needed technical and professional skills.

How It’s Going

Currently, we are in the Spring 1 module, and the work has definitely ramped up since starting the program in late June. Some of the statistical topics we have covered have been an in-depth review for me, but other topics have been completely new, which has allowed me to develop my technical skills. Apart from those technical skills, we also focus on professional development as we aspire to become data scientists. We spent an entire week early in the program focusing on improving our communication skills because effectively communicating within the business is just as important as any model we create!

One of the main highlights of the Fall Semester was working on our practicum project for our assigned company. Our team had the privilege of flying to Maryland for our Practicum Kickoff to meet our sponsors and learn more about the project we are currently working on. While we were there, we made sure to visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore and eat some crabs! We had great fun during our kickoff, and I am excited to be able to apply the topics we have learned so far to our project!

Even though I’ve gotten busier with the current workload, I do not at all regret applying to the Institute. My time here has been great, and I can definitely say that I have grown a lot as an individual and as a data scientist. For those of you interested in this program, just know that it is truly challenging in its own way, but you will be thankful for the various resources and opportunities that the program provides in order to help you keep growing as a professional.

Future Goals

During the interview season, I am keeping my options open to any position, but I am primarily interested in data scientist roles within finance. Ever since I was in high school, I have been interested in finance. Looking back, I feel I’ve made the correct choice in taking the data science route, and now I am ready to take what I have learned over the past 4-years and apply my knowledge to a position within the finance industry.

One long-term goal I have in mind is running my own analytics consultancy. Analytics is continuing to grow, and it is constantly being used to help shape decisions within companies, so I would love to one day provide my skills in analytics to various businesses. If you are reading this and want to give me any recommendations on how to best approach this, feel free to reach out to me! Also, if you have a similar goal in mind, I would like to talk with you about it sometime!

Columnist: Josue Martinez