Brewing Up Success: My Journey to Join Starbucks as Data Analyst

MSBA program offers flawless curriculum design and implementation

Sayar Banner Banerjee and two other students wearing safety vest at a warehouse
Sayar (Banner) Banerjee (right) visited a distribution center in Kent, Washington, during his orientation at Starbucks.

In the summer of 2022, I took a giant leap of faith to leave a full-time job and pursue higher education. Embracing this significant lifestyle and professional change was initially daunting. However, as I reflect on my journey, it has been profoundly rewarding, and I am immensely proud of taking that leap.

I recently graduated from the UC Davis MSBA program with newfound skills and insights into analytics. Subsequently, I landed a position as a data analyst in the global supply chain team at Starbucks, the world's largest coffeehouse chain.

Based in India, I wanted to pursue my master’s degree from a college in the U.S. with a focus on providing high-quality education in the classroom coupled with an environment that fosters real-world applications. For many reasons, the MSBA program at UC Davis was a no-brainer.

The program's distinguished faculty and comprehensive curriculum, especially the year-long practicum project, were instrumental in steering my career toward supply chain management. These qualities of the program played a crucial role in helping me secure my full-time job.

Orientation and Preparation

The MSBA orientation was an incredible experience. Our class got to know each other and build relationships even before the term began. A variety of enjoyable activities were organized, which emphasized team-building and deepened our understanding of our peers.

This experience made me realize the importance of teamwork and cultivating a tight-knit community among us. It enabled us to recognize everyone’s strengths and areas for growth, facilitating more effective collaboration on coursework and projects.

Flawless Curriculum Design and Implementation

What truly struck me was the meticulous design of the curriculum. As a one-year program, there's an inherent need for a curriculum that is not only rigorous but also efficiently imparts essential knowledge, skills, and tools. The program enables students to swiftly implement what they've learned in real-world scenarios.

For example, in Professor Olivier Rubel's analytical decision-making course we delved into linear programming concepts, which I immediately found applicable to our practicum project. This experience underscored the power of the curriculum's potency and how it quickly prepares students for impactful roles in analytics-driven professions.

Sayar Banner Banerjee and a group of group of students inside a American Eagle Outfitters retail store
In partnership with client American Eagle Outfitters, Banerjee's MSBA student team developed solutions for the retailers’ back-of-house operations, visual merchandising and product lifecycle.

Practicum Promise

Studying in the MSBA program at UC Davis provided numerous learning opportunities, but it was the practicum project that truly set the experience apart.

The MSBA curriculum incorporates a year-long practicum project where students collaborate with both peers and consults for industry partners to address real-world business challenges

My practicum team was tasked with resolving a supply chain issue for a prominent fashion retail company, American Eagle Outfitters. This real-world scenario compelled us to harness the theoretical knowledge from our coursework and craft solutions for our industry partner's needs.

This project involved number-crunching, isolated analyses and a holistic understanding of supply chain intricacies. It forced us to think critically, communicate effectively with stakeholders and drive actionable insights that had tangible business outcomes.

Upon graduation, when I was interviewing for roles in supply chain, the practicum experience became a centerpiece of my discussions with potential employers.

I was able to exhibit my technical prowess and demonstrate my ability to work collaboratively in a team, liaise with professionals and solve tangible business problems.

This project was pivotal in helping me articulate my value proposition. I firmly believe it played an instrumental role in securing a full-time position at Starbucks in supply chain.

The real-world exposure that the practicum project provided gave me an edge, making me not just a graduate but a professional ready to make impactful contributions from day one.

Leverage Resources and Opportunities

A swag bag of Starbucks products including an apron, coffee and merchandise
Sayar Banerjee MSBA 23 received a welcome gift box when he accepted the data analyst opportunity at Starbucks.

The MSBA program provides students with all the necessary resources to establish themselves as leaders in analytics. The career development team at UC Davis’s MSBA program ensured that through their career success session, students were well prepared for phone screens as well as behavioral and technical interviews.

What’s more, the program also offers a professional development grant for students to pursue professional certifications in technical skills such as Tableau and AWS cloud practitioner. These opportunities ensure that students are well-rounded in their technical and business skills to be able to drive value for businesses across domains.

Finally, the Graduate School of Management’s (GSM) alumni network serves as a bridge between academic learning and professional execution. Engaging with alumni who are in influential industry roles offers students a first-hand glimpse into potential career paths. It also underscores the importance of networking, mentorship and continuous learning.

Our journey of professional growth doesn't end with graduation but is rather just the beginning.

My journey at UC Davis has been transformative. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the esteemed professors of the GSM and our dedicated MSBA staff for providing me with this unparalleled opportunity.