On Friday, October 23rd, MSS students gathered to hear from program Alumni for their Annual Alumni Event, organized by the Graduate Consultative Committee (GCC). The goal of the event is to provide an opportunity for current MSS students in the Department of Statistical Science to gain insight from MSS Program Alumni into the practice of statistics and data science in industry and research. Participants had a chance to hear from Alumni representing a broad range of industries, including Tech, Sports Analytics, Consulting, Government, and Research. Typically, the annual event is held in-person at the Washington Duke Inn. Of course, this year the event was held via Zoom.
Participants were welcomed by MSS Director Funda Gunes and Department Chair Jerry Reiter. Both delivered remarks that reflected on the vibrant sense of community fostered by the Department. The event itself was a reflection of this. Despite the virtual environment, students, alumni and professors from the Department were able to connect in meaningful ways and learn from each other.
The event also featured Alumni Keynote Speaker Walker Harrison, an MSS 2019 graduate who currently works as a Quantitative Analyst for the New York Yankees. During his speech, Walker touched on eight career lessons he learned while in the MSS program as well as during his time with the Yankees. Walker shared advice particularly niche to Statistics students, including coding algorithms from scratch and publishing data science work and projects. He also shared more general advice to prioritize self-care, personal interests, and to always share knowledge gained with others.
The larger part of the event featured a panel of 7 MSS Alumni who provided insight on their career paths and journey through the MSS program. Alumni including Eduardo Coronada Sroka, Sr. Analyst at McKinsey and Company, shared their favorite classes, tips for job interviews, and ideas on how to make resumes and profiles stand out. The event ended with smaller breakout room discussions by industry, to facilitate discussion among students and Alumni with similar interests.
Overall, the virtual event was a success. The ability to hold the event via Zoom allowed for broader participation, including by Undergraduates and Professors. Though we hope to have the event in person next year, it was great to be able to still put on a successful virtual event in which participants were able to learn from each other and connect outside of the classroom.