March 31, 2017

What Students Can Get From Attending School Events

"What Students Can Get From Attending Weatherhead Events"

On Friday, March 24, professors and directors of Weatherhead’s Business Analytics and Operations Research/Supply Chain specialty Master’s programs put together an amazing panel of local industry insiders to discuss what led them to careers in business analytics and big data. The panel represented the very diverse ways one can put analytics skills to use in a myriad of companies and industries, including: GE, Progressive Insurance, American Greetings, Nielsen, Rosetta/Razorfish, Marcus Thomas, Cardinal Health and Gallup. First year MBA students, Cori Finefrock and Maria Landaeta discuss the career advice they came away with after attending the event.

American Greetings, Logo

Corinne Finefrock: One of my favorite takeaways from the presentations came from Todd Fraser, Director of Business Intelligence at American Greetings. Fraser talked about how his first introduction to big data, sort of, came from his passion for snowboarding. While consuming a magazine all about the best trails and gear, he stumbled upon an article about all of the data professional skiers and snowboarders use to plan the best outing. They were tracking everything from precipitation and temperatures to wind speed and direction. This data brought a science to something Fraser loved. He said from then on he never looked back and has been working with data ever since. This is a great story for those of us who are trying to find out what will motivate us to get out of bed every day and do great work. Sometimes we try to find positions or fields to fit with skills we already have, or we develop new skills and competencies to enable us to pursue our passions. Now Fraser is working with data at the world’s largest greeting card company, but also still makes time to use data to track the best “powder” conditions before his next snowboarding adventure.

Marcus Thomas, Logo

Maria Landaeta: I
talked to Scott Chapin,  Partner, Analytics and Digital Strategy from Marcus Thomas LLC - a private marketing and advertising agency here in Cleveland - to ask him about the specific skill set he looks for in new hires. During our conversation, Chapin expressed the importance of excellent verbal, behavioral and written communications skills, regardless of the function these new hires will be executing at Marcus Thomas. Whether it is business analytics, creative direction or content generation, it is essential for the company to hire professionals who will be able to articulate deep analytical insights, ideas, or objective plans for the diverse portfolio of clients Marcus Thomas works with.
According to Chapin, new hires need to be able to communicate and interpret effectively across different platforms. They need to feel comfortable interpreting visual and quantitative information and transferring it into verbal summaries or written reports for the clients or other members of their team. These cross communication skills also require having an open mind and most importantly, a positive attitude.
Additionally, the interpersonal skills involved in their communication should portray their genuine curiosity and empathy for the clients and the projects the company joins. Since most of these skills cannot be easily extracted from a resume, cover letter or portfolio, Marcus Thomas relies a lot on the interview process and the behavioral insights they can get by actually interacting in person with the potential employees or interns. 
While education and technical skills are essential for the different job disciplines offered at these type of agencies; it is ultimately a confident yet humble and a professional, yet nice attitude that will get recent graduates the job they are looking for in the creative industry. These are real insights gained from real leaders in the industry that are hard to get from a job description and requirements list. Therefore, it is in the student's best interest to attend these events and learn first-hand what employers are looking for while also understanding these filters are unique for every industry or for each company’s culture. 

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