Fifteen of our MSBA students traveled to New York at the midpoint of Module 5 for the program’s inaugural learning trip. Throughout the trip, students met with representatives from a variety of companies that notably prioritize business and data analytics to inform strategy and decisions, as well as those with strong alumni connections to the University of Virginia, Darden, and McIntire.
Organized by the MSBA Career Services Team, the learning trip’s central focus was on providing students an opportunity to utilize knowledge gained inside and outside the classroom to engage and understand each organization’s needs and practices. While in New York, students visited eight companies, including American Express, BlackRock, Bloomberg, LinkedIn, LVMH/Thélios, McKinsey & Co., Sullivan, and VaynerMedia. While company representatives had individual agendas for the visit, generally students were introduced to the company and their mission and given an overview of the industry to which the company belongs. From there, students were able to network with UVA alumni and other stakeholders within the company, discuss prepared case studies concerning data analysis and different ways it could be used to service clients, and participate in high-level conversations on organizing and providing data to clients. “This combination [of interactions] allowed students to have a diverse and insightful company visit, and allowed for fostering meaningful learning experiences and networking opportunities for all involved,” remarked Emily Funk, member of the MSBA Career Services Team.
The learning trip gave students a glimpse into each company’s culture and their dynamic use of analytics, as well as a real-time opportunity to apply concepts learned and practiced thus far in the program. Most importantly, the trip provided students the space to realize their own readiness in tackling analytical challenges in each of their industries within the business world. MSBA student Rudy Spaulding noted an “ah-ha” moment when discussing technical elements of different jobs with company employees. Spaulding told us he surprised himself during many of the company presentations, saying, “I could see gaps where even more data could be gathered, or where different techniques could be applied to gain richer insights.”
As someone with years of experience in technology but limited experience in business analytics, Spaulding credits the MSBA Program and learning trip for expanding his view of data in business and for empowering him to use the skills and tools gained to envision what comes next for him professionally. When asked what he would say to future students considering the UVA MSBA Program and participating in future learning trips, Spaulding said, “The MSBA Program is on the forefront of business analytics, and I was able to understand that during the immersion [learning] trip. I would recommend any student who could to participate in an immersion [learning] trip; it will help put things into a greater context that will provide valuable perspectives on the future of data and the role they can play in it.”
Stay tuned for more information on next year’s learning trip and our upcoming blog post recapping the conclusion of Module 5 as students returned to Charlottesville, VA, for the MSBA End-of-Program Celebration!
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