Speed Networking: Analytics is the Shared Language Across Industries
MSBA student Lan Mei glimpses a world beyond her degree

I’ve always wondered what analytics careers look like in different industries.

I found a chance to do just that when the UC Davis Master of Science in Business Analytics program partnered with Women in Data to host an event focused on analytics speed networking and resume tips, held at the Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco, Calif., on Nov. 13.

The event had a good spread of experienced professionals from various industries, ranging from cloud-based solutions platforms, financial firms, technology companies focused on transportation and the travel, solar energy, healthcare and electric power industries—all of whom I had the opportunity to meet in the speed networking session.

With 10 featured hiring managers from Blue Shield; Box, Inc.; Charles Schwab; Kaiser Permanente; Microsoft; PG&E; Sojern; Sunrun and Uber, it was no wonder that we had about 150 people sign up for this event.

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With tables of six to eight people, the speakers sharing their experiences, answered questions and then rotated every five minutes. The conversations were crisp and direct.

Though I was particularly interested in user analytics, the conversations with people from healthcare analytics and the electric power industry taught me about the broader application of analytics.

Sharad Gupta, the director of health innovation product strategy at Blue Shield of California, and a spring quarter lecturer in the MSBA program, explained how the core function of healthcare analytics is quite different from business, an insight that related directly to a case study I learned in class.

Katie Buhler, a business process manager from Sunrun, spoke with us about her analytics collaborations with departments like finance and management. “One has to be passionate, human centric and work with integrity to be a good employee,” she said.

Sonic Prabhudesai, who is an alumnus working as a manger in investor services strategy analytics at Charles Schwab, shared the three most important characteristics a company looks for in an employee: having a learner’s mindset, being able to think outside the box and collaborating in teams.


I also gained some tips in the resume session, such as how to quantify my accomplishments when I haven’t had any results from my projects yet. I learned I must also craft my resume for the job I want, not the jobs I’ve had. That includes emphasizing my relevant skills and competencies. I went home looking forward to making those changes.

Following the session, students were interested in talking with the working professionals in greater depth. This kind of networking event helps us think outside our academic circle and get an idea of what to expect from different industries.

The industry partners were generous in staying after the event to continue sharing their experiences. Their passion really resonated with the entire crowd, making the event a grand success.

I will continue to connect and learn from the people I met here. I hope to carry the baton myself one day and do the same for the next batch of business analytics students.