Advice from an MSBA Alum: How to Land Your Dream Job

Check out my five tips based on my success

Laksh Suryanarayanan in front of the Golden Gate bridge
Laksh Suryanarayanan secured a position as a senior product analyst at Wise while pursuing the MSBA program at UC Davis.

I enrolled in the UC Davis Master of Science in Business Analytics program with seven years of work experience in analytics, including a five-year stint in data science roles at PayPal.

The UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s MSBA was a great fit because I could strengthen my analytics fundamentals. After graduation, I joined Wise as a senior product analyst.

Developing Your MSBA Skill Set

The MSBA prepares you in three main areas:

  1. Analytical Mindset: Always be skeptical of the data and understand what a business owner/product manager would want to infer from the information acquired.
  2. Technical Skill Set: Easiest to learn and used by companies to filter out candidates without the expected proficiency. SQL is the go-to programming language, so be very strong at it.
  3. Business Overview: Think about which domain and role you want to work in.

The Graduate School of Management’s Career Support Services will partner with you to discover a career path that best matches your interests, skills, and professional ambitions. However, it is ultimately up to you to pursue the career you desire.

So, what can you do to find your dream job?

My Five Tips on How to Land Your Dream Job

 Laksh Suryanarayanan with UC Davis MSBA students in San Francisco
After five years as a data scientist at PayPal, Laksh Suryanarayanan (left) joined the UC Davis MSBA program in San Francisco to upskill his knowledge.

Be authentic, genuine and interact with purpose and panache. If you build strong, deep professional relationships with people, and not look at them as just tools to obtain a job referral, that will make networking 90% easier.

  1. Add Value: When making new connections with your peers, be sure to add invaluable conversation about their product, strategy, or actionable insights. Stay knowledgeable of the fintech trends by listening to podcasts, pursuing pet projects, and exploring other aspects of analytics.
  2. Find Your Mentors: Identify at least five people whose work interests you. Have a regular cadence with them and understand what they do. For example, I am on ADPList, a mentoring platform where I met executives from Wise and other companies before I interviewed with them because I was interested in having conversations around fin-tech, payments, and products. People are on the platform to mentor, and they are there to help.
  3. Connect at Conferences: The Bay Area is a hub of high-performing technology professionals where there are multiple meet-ups and networking events. In fact, I received several interview calls as a result of attending the 2022 Open Data Science Conference (ODSC) in San Francisco. Volunteer opportunities are also usually available if attendance costs don’t fit your budget. Follow Michelle Fang for updates on events in San Francisco. 
  4. Create an Action Plan: As the saying goes, “Plan for the best, and prepare for the worst.” Build a mental image of your “dream “job. Now, work backwards and chart down line items that will help you land the role. Break down each aspect and think of all the things you need to do to succeed.

    You’ll be competing with thousands of top technology talent for every single role. You’ll have to stand out and show why you’re the best fit. Start interviewing early to get into the groove. Learning the craft is one thing but applying them in a high-stress interview is another.

    My first interview was in November 2022. I started early only to feel serious about the process and realistically estimate my chances. There are some companies whose job offer is valid for up to a year.
  5. Build Your Brand: The MSBA program opens avenues to different designations - analysts, data scientists, machine learning engineers, and product managers. Be clear about what you want to prioritize and base it on your strengths and interests. Clarity helps prioritize and focus. Dream big, ride the wave, but be realistic about your chances.

Built a personal website to highlight your career journey and work portfolio. If you don’t have work experience, it’s prudent to add personal projects like Kaggle. It’s a one-time effort and gives more context about you and your interests rather than a bloated resume.

For more tips on how to land your dream job, I am open to connecting with prospective or current MSBA students on Linkedin, and chatting about your career aspirations.

Laksh Suryanarayanan holding book with Author Nick Singh at a conference
Laksh Suryanarayanan (left) met Nick Singh (right), author of the bestseller “Ace the Data Science Interview,” at the 2022 Open Data Science Conference (ODSC) in San Francisco where Laksh learned more about corporate business strategies, AI companies, and behavioral interview techniques.
group shot of the Wise staff
Laksh Suryanarayanan (center) with his Wise coworkers at a dinner with Wise customers to understand their perspectives and our opportunities