Building proficiency in solving hard problems

Q&A with Carter Mercer '20, '21G
mercer, carter

Carter Mercer '20, '21G realized that declaring an undergraduate major in Information Systems and Business Analytics (ISBA) was the right direction for someone who always enjoyed solving quantitative problems. In turn, he also felt it was a natural transition to enroll in the MSBA graduate program to take his abilities to the next level.

Tell us a bit about yourself, and why you wanted to get a graduate degree?

I started my journey in Business Analytics during my sophomore year at UNH while taking business administration courses. I realized that declaring a major in Information Systems and Business Analytics (ISBA) was the right direction as someone who has always enjoyed solving quantitative problems. I also sought out mathematics courses to help build a foundation for future courses. I was fortunate to make some great connections along the way that supported my ambition to learn more in the world of analytics. It felt like a natural transition to enroll in the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) graduate program to take my abilities to the next level.

Are you currently working, and where?

I have been working part time in Paul College as a Research Assistant during the program. However, I am currently seeking professional opportunities after completion of the MSBA.

What are you hoping to learn to help you advance or pivot in your career?

The biggest goals I have for learning have been to master the knowledge and technical skills required in the analytics field. As someone who has jumped directly into a master's program after competing a Bachelor's degree, I wanted to become confident and proficient in my abilities to solve hard problems, and begin a career in a position that makes an impact.

Why did you choose UNH and Paul College to get your graduate degree?

As an undergraduate, I became active at UNH and within Paul College. I found there was so much to learn from everyone around me. In my undergraduate courses I was constantly impressed by the expertise and knowledge of the professors I had, and that motivated me to be as curious as they are. Paul College set me up in a great position with the completion of a Bachelor's degree. With the MSBA program kicking off, it felt right to stay in such a positive environment to learn.

Have you had a favorite class and/or professor, and what made them outstanding?

In the first term of the MSBA program, students take Probability and Simulation with professor Tevfik Aktekin. I particularly liked this course because of the amount of information that I learned in a new area. Tevfik has a talent for delivering material in a way that makes concepts click. The mix between theoretical material and applied material made for both a fun and valuable experience.

Have you learned/discovered anything during your program that’s surprised you? If so, what and how do you think you will apply it professionally?

The independent problem solving skills that I have developed will certainly apply professionally. For example, finding the solution to a problem using a programming language like R, the prominent tool for this program, has forced me to think about problems differently. But in general, there are a lot of theoretical and technical skills that this program teaches, and the best takeaway is the ability to teach myself new things. There is never one way to do something, and often times there is a better way. The ability to find the correct resources, and ask the right questions will be important for my future career goals.

What do you consider to be the strengths of the program?

There are a few strengths of the program that stand out to me. The professors in this program are all effective in delivering material, and their abilities to make connections to real applications and their own research has been wonderful. As a follow up to this point, assignments and exams are hard. I am grateful for the way that my classmates and I are pushed because I have learned more than I expected. I have also enjoyed collaborating with other classmates. Everyone cares, and puts in the extra effort to create exceptional work, and as a result I have learned new things from the talented students in this program.