Riley Gardner was involved in starting the first Paul College analytics BiP course called Artifex
For Riley Gardner '20, '21G the Covid pandemic brought her to an unexpected fork in the road. "My plan was to graduate, get a job in analytics and then eventually go back to school for an MBA or masters in statistics down the road. When COVID-19 hit, plans had to change and quickly. Instead of staying stagnant and waiting it out, I applied to the MSBA program and I am glad I did."
Tell us a bit about yourself, and why you wanted to get a graduate degree?
As an undergraduate student at UNH, I studied Information Systems and Business Analytics. I was involved in starting the first analytics BiP course at Peter T. Paul College called Artifex, where we worked with local companies to solve some of their data needs. This work encouraged me and grew my work experience in business analytics. My professor, Christopher Glynn, always encouraged us to continue our education and consider getting a Master's. He spoke honestly about his experiences in graduate school and yet it did not scare me away. My plan was to graduate undergrad, get a job in analytics and then eventually go back to school for an MBA or masters in statistics down the road. When COVID-19 hit, plans had to change and quickly. Instead of staying stagnant and waiting it out, I applied to the MSBA program and I am glad I did.
Are you currently working, and where?
I am currently a research assistant at Paul College working on creating a predictive model of Health Review data to help decide if a new health release is too zealous with their claims or not. It is a very interesting problem that aligns with many of the techniques I am learning in the program.
What did you hope to learn to help you advance or pivot in your career?
I hoped to dive deep into the methodologies and technologies used in the field and to learn from my peers. This program was a perfect extension to my undergraduate degree that will make me a better candidate and advance myself in a career.
Why did you choose UNH and Paul College to get your graduate degree?
I chose Paul College because of their new Master of Science in Business Analytics program. The decision sciences department has incredible professors that I had the pleasure of knowing in undergrad. I feel confident in the people that will help me achieve my masters.
Have you had a favorite class and/or professor, and what made them outstanding?
My favorite class was Exploration & Communication of Data with Khole Gwebu. Part of my pursuit of a business analytics degree was my interest in data visualization. This class did a good job of teaching the techniques and technology used to work with large structured and unstructured data to create insights through data visualization.
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?
What surprised me was how much I did not know. There is so much to learn in the field of data science. Every class was challenging and rewarding. My master's degree will help me get the job that I wanted after graduating from undergrad. I will be able to apply my refined technical and analytical skills to my professional work.
What do you consider to be the strengths of the program?
The strength of the program in my opinion is the capstone project where we work as consultants. This helps students apply the skills learned during the program to a company's data or business insights needs.