Meet Our New MSBA Graduate Student Analysts

Jessica Padolina, Zhe Wang and Dhwani Mehta connect their cohort

MSBA Graduate Student Analysts

Our Graduate Students Analysts (Grad STATS) are instrumental in supporting the M.S. in Business Analytics (MSBA) program.

Each quarter, we select students to serve as a bridge between staff and their cohort. They help organize events, coordinate trainings, collaborate with our corporate partners and blog about their student experience.

This Spring, we welcomed three new Grad STATS. We asked each of them to briefly share about their background and skills:

Jessica Padolina MSBA 21

1)      Share a few details about your background and your experience in data science.

Jessica Padolina MSBA 21 DSAC President profile photo

My first exposure to data science began in my senior year of college. By that time I had almost finished my double major in statistics, but up until then it just felt like theory and coursework. My capstone class in data science taught me that students can use machine learning to answer relevant questions and produce really cool projects.

2)    Why UC Davis?

I knew I wanted to join the program after my initial phone call with [Executive Director] Amy Russell. I had not felt that kind of enthusiasm from any of the other programs I was considering, and the webinars made me feel like the program, even remotely, was a tight-knit community that kept its connections with its alumni. It made me feel that I could do anything once I had completed the program. That connection was very important to me in a time when I didn’t even know if classes would be in person.

3)    What skills have you gained and honed during the program so far?

I’m quite proud of how much more comfortable I am in Python compared to where I was in the beginning of the program. Each week I still need to look up how to do something, but I know I’m improving little by little. I have also had a lot of fun refreshing myself in R and SQL. In the world of soft skills, I didn’t expect to enjoy being a project manager, which I am for my practicum project.

Zhe Wang MSBA 21

Zhe Wang MSBA 21 profile photo

1)      Why UC Davis?

I was working as a data analyst before I joined the MSBA program. During this experience, I realized what skills I needed to improve upon to reach a higher level of data science. After comparing various master’s programs, I found UC Davis MSBA program provides me with the most comprehensive skills that I need. Therefore, I decided to enroll in the UC Davis MSBA program to accelerate my career development.

2)      Share a few details about your background and your experience in data science.

I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a bachelor’s degree in math and economics. Those two majors interacted together established a solid foundation for my quantitative skills. After I graduated, I spent a year growing and absorbing knowledge as a data analyst working in a startup company in New York. During this period, I participated in developing many projects using hot topics in the data science industry, such as natural language processing and machine learning.

3)      What skills have you gained and honed during the program so far?

This program has helped me to become a full-stack data scientist. I have improved my quantitative skills such as statistics and programming techniques. The program also made me more aware of the importance of data applications in the real world, and how data interacts with businesses to create value.

This program has helped me to become a full-stack data scientist.

Dhwani Mehta MSBA 21

1)      Why UC Davis?

I earned a computer engineering degree and an MBA from top-tier universities in Mumbai, India. I spent six years working with firms like JPMorgan, KPMG and PwC, and as a consultant, I helped clients improve their business operations and suggest market entry strategies. This is where I realized the impact of data-backed solutions and that prompted me to upskill at UC Davis.

The coursework at UC Davis and the 10-month practicum project were the biggest attractions for me.

Dhwani Mehta MSBA 21 profile photo

2)    What skills have you gained and honed during the program so far?

The program has been everything I hoped it would be and more. The classes have taught me a lot about machine learning, data management and visualization and advanced statistics. The practicum project has given me a chance to implement these lessons in the real world and given me a great jump start in the data science field.

3)    What field or company would you like to join after graduating from the program?

My long-term career goal is to become a product manager, but I’d like to start my journey as a data analyst and grow into this role.