Why I Forfeited My Masters Program for General Assembly

During the Fall of 2016 I was confronted with a choice, whether to continue with my masters in Business Analytics with George Washington University or to start fresh with General Assembly’s Data Science Immersive. Although having a degree was enticing, General Assembly offered a number of advantages that could not be overlooked.

Why I Decided to Pursue My Masters

I have spent seven years doing political campaign work, where five of those years have been focused on campaign data. Although my role in my organization was critical to campaign operations, it was more technical than strategic. I had a fascination with what my counterparts on our Analytics Team and our Analytics Vendors were doing. The fact that they had tools to model the behavior of the electorate all the way down to the individual voter seemed powerful. I liked the idea of using data to contribute to the decision-making process of an organization which is why I applied to the masters program at GWU.

I started my masters program the Fall of 2015. Although I was very excited to start, that feeling soon wore off. I found it impossible to balance the demands of my current position with my masters. I also found my work and contributing to my organization’s effort in achieving our goals for the 2016 election more intellectually stimulating. I decided to postpone my studies to continue my work.

November 2016 Came and Went

Although I knew before the election that I was ready for a change, the results of the election crystallized it. I had been working five years at the same organization at various capacities, but I really needed something to take me to the next level of my career. With the next major election being two years out, I knew that I could train someone to take my place without leaving my organization in a lurch.

I knew that whatever program I went into, I would need to contribute my full attention to it lest I run into the problem of finding balance like I did the year prior. I didn’t want to be out of the workforce for 1 to 2 years, like full dedication to GWU would require me to.

General Assembly was more attractive in this sense because it was a 3-month program. It was also $15,000 versus GWU’s $50,000.

I am more than half way through my program now, and I am quite satisfied. In addition to being a lot more affordable in time and money, GA seems a lot more project oriented. Blogs, projects, and the capstone all offer opportunities for exploration, which has contributed to the intellectual stimulation I was looking for.