Over the course of half a decade working at Bank of America in the credit and risk environment for derivatives, Mitch Carmen had noticed the increasing number of analytic projects being assigned to him by managers. While he admits to being a fundamentally analytical person to begin with, Mitch insists all the same that the reason for this increase went well beyond his predilection for such work. More than anything else, he says, it signaled the growing importance of data analysis and business intelligence in the work he was doing.
“It was already a very quantitative field when I entered it,” Mitch says, “and it’s only becoming more so. More and more, managers are seeing the value of using data to drive decisions. That’s why I knew that increasing my analytic acumen would only strengthen my position. I had always wanted to join the University of Chicago community, and when I learned of their analytics program through the Graham School, I knew it was where I needed to be. When I wasn’t accepted after I applied for the autumn quarter, I persisted and I’m extremely happy to be starting there now.”
After hearing that he hadn’t been accepted the first time, Mitch spoke with the Master of Science in Analytics (MScA) program director. He learned that he had been part of an unexpectedly large and competitive applicant pool, meaning that despite the strength of his application he’d narrowly missed making the final cut. In particular, he learned that not knowing how to code had placed him at a disadvantage when compared to other applicants.
Hope, however, was hardly lost for Mitch. Through that phone conversation he was directed to the Graham School’s Graduate Student-at-Large (GSAL) program, where he was told he’d be able to take the very classes he would’ve taken had he gained acceptance to the MScA program. Through GSAL, Mitch took Linear Algebra & Matrix Analytics, the fundamental prerequisite that all Analytics students have to complete. He did extremely well in his class, strengthening his case when he applied for the MScA a second time.
“It was just happenstance that brought me to the GSAL program,” Mitch admits. “I hadn’t realized when I first read about it online that it was actually exactly what I was looking for. The classes I took were the very ones I would’ve taken had I been accepted, so I wasn’t even that bothered about not getting in. I attended every class, every TA session, and even the MScA capstone presentations. The GSAL program allowed me to confirm that the University of Chicago was really where I wanted to be and it did that in a way that far exceeded my expectations. I’m only more excited to begin the MScA program now.”