There are many reasons students decide to enroll in Goizueta’s MS in Business Analytics degree. For May (Botao) Shao, it was to embrace the big data age by learning how to use more data-oriented tools. The small cohort of approximately 50 students in Goizueta’s MSBA program created endless opportunity for May by giving her access to valuable resources without feeling like she was competing with her fellow classmates.
“This program is truly intensive, but you'll learn a lot in these 10 months.”
Throughout the program, May found numerous projects that gave her the opportunity to practice time management and solve real-world problems with algorithms she learned directly from class. The Capstone Project, in particular, stood out to May as an excellent learning opportunity since her particular project was to predict claim cost at first notice of loss for an insurance company.
“Besides technical skills, I started to build my own business lens to solve problems with data-oriented methods. I didn't have much experience in solving abstract problems before."
“In this project, we utilized SQL and Python to finish data cleaning and model building, which was a great opportunity to apply what we learned in class to real business problems. I learned from this project that the machine learning algorithms were truly powerful and were able to make precise predictions if we looked at all claims as a whole, but may not be helpful in making prediction on each claim precisely.”
Additionally, May also learned how important it is to provide business insights for executives rather than build elaborate models for them, something she had neglected previously.
“During the Capstone pitch process, I learned to not care about my client company's big name. It's more important to think about if this is a meaningful project that you are interested in.”
Beyond wanting to sharpen her technical skills such as using Python and Tableau in data analysis, May also wanted to improve her networking skillset to help her with future success. With the help of Career Services, she quickly gained confidence in reaching out to various companies, recruiters and Goizueta’s large alumni network.
“I was not good at networking and selling myself previously. Our career services helped us eliminate information asymmetry between employers and employees, and provided me a lot of opportunities to get to know people in the industry.”
When May reached out to many alumni while she was actively looking for opportunities, she found many were willing to help, including do mock interviews, forward her resume to recruiters and share advice about previous job-hunting experiences. “This inspired me to be resilient during COVID-19 when the job market was bad.”
However, it was when Career Services helped arrange a West Coast Trek during her spring break that May discovered several tech companies, including Salesforce where she currently works. Unfortunately, what would have been a closer look at several tech companies in-person, the trip turned virtual over Zoom due to COVID-19. However, even virtual, May learned a great deal of what it’s like to work firsthand at a tech company.
“The MSBA West Coast Trek helped me know more about Salesforce's business model and gave me the opportunity to build my network with Salesforce employees.”