I have a B.A. in Philosophy from University of California – Los Angeles and was initially looking to pursue graduate school in law. My first post-undergraduate experience was as a Pricing Analyst for AEG Worldwide (Anschutz Entertainment Group), which is in the industry of sports and live entertainment. I specifically worked on projects with the Staples Center (at the time) and L.A. Live for concerts throughout the year. I was then hired as a Business Operations Specialist for a company called Fantasy Sports Pro Helpers, where I worked on customer relations and strategic planning of scaling our subscription pricing model. Finally, after being promoted within to Business Intelligence Practice Manager, I moved to my current role as Senior Project Manager for Newline Interactive, an EdTech company that manufactures large-format displays and specializes in being device agnostic. I focus on full project lifecycle with massive school districts and providing leadership with dashboards focusing on KPIs, resource allocations, and burn rates.
I always was looking to pursue an advanced degree after my undergraduate studies; however, I took the longer and scenic route. My work experience really helped me home in what I really wanted to do, which was work with data. Analyzing data is an art form and a skill, and my various roles have taught me it takes a lot of practice. However, YouTube tutorials and answered questions on forums can only take you so far in the workplace. The disconnect between actionable data and the business problem we are trying to solve is vast. Pursuing a MSBA truly would bridge that gap by understanding the nuances of both sides; this program can really allow me to take more responsibility and further my career in business analytics.
The University of Virginia program really stands out from other schools that I applied to. One feature to really emphasize is you get the benefit of being in two schools at once, in both Darden School of Business and McIntire School of Commerce. Faculty from both have provided different perspectives, and having access to resources from both schools has been a huge advantage. Another point I want to emphasize is the admissions and support staff to this program has been essential to my experience so far and even when I was in the decision process. The quick turnaround in answering questions about anything and everything really made this program my first choice. The effort shown by the UVA MSBA Program staff for such small details turns out to be a huge plus in your graduate student experience.
The University of Virginia community, which includes the professors, the support faculty, the admissions team, and my classmates, has gone above and beyond in supporting me during the MSBA Program. I actually welcomed my first child within the first two months of this program, and adapting to my new schedule with a newborn, haphazard sleep, and increased responsibility at work was difficult at first. However, with the understanding and support from everyone at the MSBA Program, I am able to focus on learning as well, and that is invaluable.
I am a foodie and grew up in Los Angeles, where I was exposed to a variety of food. I live in Dallas now, and we visit a new restaurant every week and put it in a tier system. I have an extensive list for family and friends visiting from out of town of where to eat, and it really comes in handy.
I also love everything about all sports: going to events, watching in the comforts of my home to watch parties in stadiums, and playing in adult leagues. If there is ping-pong at 4 a.m. on ESPN, I will be the one to increase the Nielsen rating. Best thing about sports is the camaraderie with fellow fans and teamwork needed to achieve a goal.
I have been lucky enough to travel to many countries and continents, and it’s really tough to pick just one. My favorite places have been Thailand and Barcelona. Thailand had ample of opportunities to really immerse in the culture, with the variety of cuisine, night market experiences, and the genuine generosity of the people. Barcelona was also one of my favorite places because the unique architecture was absolutely stunning, and that was a clear depiction of the Catalan culture and how different it was from the rest of Spain and Europe.
The residencies in Rosslyn and how often they occur are what differentiate this MSBA Program from other universities and similar masters programs. With the monthly residencies, this allows you to experience a true hybrid program and make better connections with both your classmates and faculty in person. I believe this leads to better engagement and organic discussions where we can bounce ideas off of one another. I have also had an easier time forging friendships with fellow classmates that I know will go beyond graduation and this program.
My best advice is to embrace the imposter syndrome and believe you belong! A lot of our cohort come from various professional and academic backgrounds. Most of the curriculum may not be in your wheelhouse or subject expertise, but your classmates and especially your professors are great resources to help you along your journey to become a truly effective data translator. Lean in, and embrace the material because even during the program, I am able to apply a lot of what I have learned in class to my current job.
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