The balance of the right skills, at the right time
Occupation: Senior Data Scientist, Anthem
Program: MS in Business Data Analytics
Bianca Marjalino (MSBDA ’19) was looking for a graduate program to meet her goals, one that provided the skills she needed to succeed in her career on a timeline that worked for her. Coming from the Philippines, she found the right fit at Quinlan in the MS in Business Data Analytics program.
She recently sat down with us to talk about her experience.
How did Quinlan help your career?
I come from the field of advertising and wanted to upgrade my skill set in an industry that is becoming data-driven. While it is essential for brands to be well versed with how humans think on a personal level, I believe that the need to embrace the emerging technologies to see the patterns of how people behave is inevitable. Merging my marketing background with technical skills from this program helped differentiate me, allowing me to specialize — and most especially get into this fast-moving industry.
Quinlan’s goal is a practical one: to get you that job that fits you. They have programs to connect students with companies, which is how I got my job now. I worked with Anthem throughout the quarter for my capstone class. And all the effort and work I put into that project led to interviews with them. I am now working for them as a Senior Data Scientist that specializes in marketing.
Why did you choose Quinlan?
I liked Quinlan’s balance between technical and business-oriented skills. It was also only a year-long program, which would allow me to start working sooner. This industry moves fast, and getting out in one year gives me a competitive edge. If the program was longer, you start to question whether the technical knowledge will still be relevant.
I was also an international student, and this was a STEM-designated program which allows me to stay in Chicago for at least three years after graduation, to build that experience in a place that is at the forefront of growth. Being a female Filipino in STEM is also something you don’t hear of quite often where I come from, so it gives me a sense of pride as well.
What was your favorite Quinlan experience?
There was a two-week orientation for international students before the program officially started. It helped to get prepared for the program, but it was also an opportunity to network with students from different programs and make friends. We also had networking time with the professors and deans to start an initial conversation and build that relationship as well.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Well, since I was never experienced in the technical side of things, I was worried that I would struggle with the classes that required coding. My advice would be to stick with the coursework and talk to your professors instead of looking online. It can be easy to just decide to go learn something for yourself online, but it doesn’t work as well. Trust the process. Ask for help from your professors, they appreciate questions.
Education in the classroom is much better than online, especially here. The professors are in the industry, they have great knowledge and experience, and they want to help.
Why Quinlan in 10 words or less?
A balanced, quality, ethical education in the heart of Chicago.
Any last thoughts?
For people thinking about this degree, the best time to start is now. You can overanalyze all you want, but if you don’t start, you never will.