Jingqiao (Ciao) Huang (MS Quantitative Methods and Modeling '17) interviewed alumna Shivani Trehan (MS Statistics '16) about her role as a Data Scientist, thoughts on networking and what some key skills students should be thinking about are.
Jingqiao: Shivani, thank you for meeting with me today. Let's start with your current job. Can you please share a bit about your current role at your company?
Shivani: I work for Assembly (Media Arts and Sciences). I work as a Data Scientist for the Analytics and Data Science team. I am working across different accounts and servicing different clients depending on the need. My work involves media-mix modeling and other forms of predictive modeling. I also work on other data analyses as and when they are required.
Jingqiao: How did you find this job and what preparation work or steps did you do or take to land there?
Shivani: I reached out to the EVP, Data Science and Analytics team on LinkedIn and told him that I was looking for work. I wrote out a personalized message talking about my profile and the work that I had done previously. He set up a time to meet with me. After I met with him, I got a call from HR to interview with the team. I met with three senior people of the team and interviewed with them. I was hired a week later.
Jingqiao: So it was you who initially reached out to the company. Would you mind sharing some networking and interview tips, because I believe many students have tried to reach out to professionals on LinkedIn but failed to move to the next step?
Shivani: Sure. I strongly suggest that you reach out to people on LinkedIn. Write customized messages. Register on meetup.com and Eventbrite, go to meetups. Talk to people, tell them about your interests and keep in touch. Follow up with people. Ask for informational interviews. Reach out to everyone in your network. Remember that everyone started somewhere.
Jingqiao: Going back to your job. What's the biggest lesson you have learned after working there?
Shivani: Everyone is dispensable. Senior-level, junior-level - doesn't matter. The right attitude at work is very important. Be friendly and professional with everyone. Don't be a pushover but go out of your way to help colleagues and team members. These things are always remembered. Be hungry to learn new things. Be willing to put in extra hours when needed. Take care of your physical and mental health.
Jingqiao: Looking back on where you have come to now, how did the Baruch MS in Statistics help you in your professional journey?
Shivani: The MS Statistics degree was the right choice for me because data analysts and data scientists are currently highly in demand. The professors at Baruch are definitely top notch. Just off the top of my head, Professor Gross, Professor Tatum, Professor Ali Koch and Professor Rad were some of my favorites. There was so much to learn from them but not enough time. I wish I could spend more time just studying the courses all over again.
Jingqiao: The last question. What advice could you share with Baruch graduate students who want to become data analysts or work in the media industry? What are the key qualities or skills companies are looking for?
Shivani: Learn programming. Learn SQL, R and Python. Get good at them. Get internships in the media industry. Most media companies have summer internship programs. Make sure to apply to all of them. Do some courses on Coursera or EDX relevant to the media industry. Get some industry certifications like Google Analytics Certification.