Business Majors Present Research, Explore Careers at Analytics Without Borders Conference
By Ed Brennen
The conference, held virtually this year, explores trends in data analytics and data science in fields such as business, academia and government. Career discussion panels included representatives from Google, Dell and Expedia.
“Getting to talk to industry professionals about the skills companies are looking for, in addition to seeing how my peers used data to solve real-world problems, gave me a great idea of what this field is all about,” says Miguel Espinoza, a junior who is double-majoring in finance and economics.
Espinoza and Cassie Burke, a senior management information systems student, presented their project “Using Data Analytics to Predict Consumer Credit Card Behavior,” which looked at how income, marital status and education level affects people’s financial decisions. Conducted for their Predictive Data Analytics course, the project also included business students Britney Danh, Molly Houlihan and Ruby Lin.
“Getting to talk to industry professionals about the skills companies are looking for ... gave me a great idea of what this field is all about.” -Business student Miguel Espinoza
Mansi Thakkar, a first-year business administration major with concentrations in finance and analytics and operations management, says the keynote presentation by Ren Zhang, chief data scientist at BMO Financial Group, sparked ideas about possible career options.
“It showed me what I can do with analytics in a finance field, which combines both of my concentrations together,” says Thakkar, who is taking the Honors section of Introduction to Business Analytics this semester.
Thakkar and classmates Lauren Foley, Isabelle Frost and Jessica Stevens presented their “World Happiness Report Regression Analysis” project, which examined how accurately countries can be ranked for happiness according to variables including gross domestic product per capita, social support and healthy life expectancy.
Because UMass Lowell is scheduled to host the one-day conference next March, Manning School Dean Sandra Richtermeyer and Operations and Informations Systems Assoc. Prof. Asil Oztekin delivered this year’s closing remarks.
Oztekin is a member of the organizing committee for the conference, which also includes students and faculty from Tufts and Bryant universities.
“It was cool to see people from different companies such as Google and Dell talk about their experiences and why they chose to be data analysts,” says Ryan Wong, a business administration major with concentrations in analytics and operations management and management information systems. “It was interesting to see that many of them were from different majors such as engineering or accounting, but they ended up working for major companies.”
Yifan Zhang, who will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in management science this fall in the Manning School, says attending the conference gave her a comprehensive overview of the current state of data analytics.
“As a beginner in this area, it is a great place to give me direction and inspiration to improve myself in my future Ph.D. journey,” she says.