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Executive Council Members & Business Analytics Alumni Share Wisdom During BA Club Panel

Students and Business Analytics Executive Council members enjoyed an interactive panel discussion sponsored by the Business Analytics Club.

A quick check-in discussion between Himanshu Gupta, president of the Business Analytics Club and Keith Werle, managing director of the Business Analytics Center resulted in an amazing panel discussion just a short week later.

“In difficult times, data and good decision making are more important than ever,” said Werle. “Through this panel we wanted to give our students a chance to virtually sit down with recruiting companies and show our students that industry commitments to investing in analytic talent are unchanged.”

Quick to agree were two BAC Executive Council Board Members, Michael Carpenter, director of Finance and Decision Analytics at The Home Depot, and Ivan Alvarez, vice president of Big Data & Enterprise Analytics at NCR. They kicked off the discussion by stressing the importance of business analytics to their success strategies and the importance of new talent, especially now when data collection is able to give some clarity in an environment that’s changing every day.

“In this current crisis, we are really learning what digital transformation means,” added Rod Bates, vice president of Data Analytics and Decision Science at The Coca-Cola Company. “The collection of data continues to accelerate. We need more and more people to analyze that data and be truth-tellers.”

More than 55 students attended the event—and every single BAC Executive Council member invited either attended the virtual event or designated someone from their department to take part. Skillfully moderated by Business Analytics Club Vice President Justin Haffad, the event began with a quick introduction of the sports analytics programs at Georgia Tech provided by Doug Allvine, assistant athletic director and head of innovation for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association.

“My analytics advice works for sports analytics and business analytics as well,” said Allvine. “Keep it simple, actionable & usable, and provide it in real time.”

Many of the Executive Council members attending were recent Scheller graduates. Several of those alumni had especially insightful viewpoints on the business analytics practicum because they both participated as students and led it from the client perspective as alumni.

“The ability to tell a story with data is key,” said Todge Aumiller, manager, Data Analytics at the Home Depot and MBA-BA 2018 grad. “The practicum will help you contextualize and be able to tell your data story in a way that leadership understands. Transforming data into a business context is a necessary skillset.”

Additional advice from Executive Council members included:

“Agility and iterating are so important,” said Patrick Hackett, a data scientist at NCR and MSA 2019 grad. “The ability to move forward with confidence and course correct if needed can really help you in your career.”

“Data is always going to be messy,” said Ali Lakdawala, a data scientist at the Home Depot and MBA-BA 2018 grad. “Get comfortable with data wrangling.”

“Be confident and be yourself in your interview,” said Jay Brown, university campus recruiting lead for AT&T. “You landed the interview for a reason. They know you are smart. Show them your personality as well. Practice conversations. Be able to tell your story and it will come out great!”

The event ended with Q&A from the students. MBA student James Farmer won the business analytics trivia contest and earned a gift certificate to a Tech Square restaurant.

“It was an incredibly valuable event,” summed up Gupta. “We appreciate all the Executive Council members who shared their career insights with us.”






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