Master’s student looks to the future of business analytics
Interning as a data analyst for a political campaign was an eye-opening experience for Victor Zelocualtecatl.
“I felt I didn’t have the tools that I needed to provide information that people wanted,” he recalled.
Zelocualtecatl had recently graduated from the KU School of Business after majoring in information systems, but his internship experience encouraged him to further his education in business analytics. Around the same time, Zelocualtecatl learned the business school was launching a one-year master’s in business analytics program designed to prepare students for careers in the cutting-edge industry.
“It just made sense for me to join the program and advance myself, my education and my understanding in the field,” he said.
Building on foundations
In the master’s program, Zelocualtecatl is taking Large Scale Data Analysis, Optimization and Prescriptive Analytics, and Data Mining and Machine Learning, courses he said equip students with valuable knowledge they can apply to a wide range of industries and situations.
But Zelocualtecatl’s first experience with business analytics was as an undergraduate student in doctoral candidate Lijun Chen’s BSAN 415: Data Analysis and Forecasting course. The class wasn’t required for his degree, but he was interested in the topic and wanted to learn more.
Looking through old notes recently helped Zelocualtecatl realize how the class inspired him to pursue his master’s and highlighted how he has grown.
“In this undergrad course, we were talking about very basic stuff that, at the time, I was kind of struggling with, trying to digest it and understand it,” he explained. “It’s a good benchmark to see how far I’ve come in the field and in my understanding of concepts and ideas and techniques, and my level of comfort with the topics.”
The future of business
After Zelocualtecatl graduates this May, he will move to Austin to work as a business & integration architecture analyst for Accenture, a multinational professional services company. In the role, his analytics background will help him make data-driven decisions for the company.
But as a graduate in an emerging field, Zelocualtecatl is already thinking about other ways he may someday be able to apply his business analytics degree.
“I’m in it because it’s a great way to contribute with solutions to the problems we have right now,” he said, noting business analytics can make an impact in every industry, from helping advance sustainable energy to assessing how wholesale distributors can reduce food waste.
“As time goes on, what we’re learning right now and what we know of data will change, definitely, but at least we are making the effort to improve what we have now and move forward and create something even better,” Zelocualtecatl said. “I don’t know what things are going to look like in 5, 10 years, but it’s very exciting, the rate at which analytics is moving, and I’m very excited to be in the industry and in the field.”