Steven McAlpine

M.S. in Commerce 2011 (Marketing & Management), University of Virginia

B.A. in Chemistry 2010, Duke University

After: dunnhumbyUSA, Senior Associate Analyst (New York, NY)

Now: First Street Foundation, Head of Data Science (New York, NY)

Leveraging a science degree with business

This program developed my ability to think strategically, a skill I had not focused on developing while studying chemistry at Duke. Since I now work in “big data” analysis, the strategic thinking I learned at McIntire complements well the quantitative thinking I learned studying chemistry. It prepared me to think strategically to make business decisions and raised my awareness of big data analysis.

Most memorable class: Marketing & Quantitative Analysis

The Marketing & Quantitative Analysis class I took with Professor Rick Netemeyer exposed me to the company I worked for after graduation and the practice of combining data analysis with marketing.

What makes the job great

I love the fact that it applies quantitative methods in business.

A typical day at the office

Each day can be completely different, but a typical day almost always has some variety. I often meet with internal and external clients to discuss how to best align analytics with their business needs. I'm constantly discussing projects with teammates, debating methodologies, and interpreting results. I regularly consult with others in charge of data maintenance and production to discuss how we can better automate processes. I also spend a good amount of time performing analysis myself, whether that be summarizing and graphing interesting data, or running models that provide predictive power.

Advice for future students

My advice to someone who wants to pursue a career in big data analytics is to take advantage of the Business Analytics Track and absorb as much as you can. The more you know about analytical tools and languages, the faster and better you can deliver results and the more you can add to your company. If you want to work in business analytics as an analyst performing the analysis by interfacing with large datasets, then technical skills are mandatory, and advanced technical skills will set you up to rise quickly within your company. If you want to work in the field on a more client-facing side, then you should focus on developing a comprehensive knowledge of the applications of data analysis and visualization tools. Coursework outside of the Business Analytics Track will also be helpful because both paths benefit from understanding business strategy.

Where did you go for the Global Immersion Experience (GIE)?

Europe

Most memorable GIE company visit

BMW. The smell and the precision. The symphony of machines working together reminded me of the Matrix (in an only positive way). Also, the guide walked into the room where we were waiting precisely (to the second!) on time. Quite impressive. 

Life after graduate business school

I enjoy riding around on a motorcycle and frequenting the many bars and restaurants in Alphabet City within NYC. 

Favorite Charlottesville activity

Eating at Little John’s Deli after class.