2019 February 2019 News

Programmed for the data-driven future

Vince Miller, a second-year graduate student, chose the Applied Statistics and Data Analytics (MASDA) program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences because he was looking for “a top tier education.” After his first year at SMU, a data scientist internship at Capital One turned into a full-time career. He’ll be working for the bank after graduating in the fall. He recently shared some insights about his SMU student experience in the college’s newsletter, Inside Dedman College. EXCERPT:

What drew you to the MASDA program? With so many options within the field, what makes SMU’s MASDA program special?

While I was considering what graduate program I wanted to attend, I was able to speak with our advisor Dr. Robertson as well as then-current students. These conversations gave me the confidence that MASDA was exactly what I had been looking for: a top tier education that would allow me to develop applied statistics knowledge while gaining experience using industry standard as far as available technology for data science from insightful professors. In my second year, I have found that the insights given by my professors have been invaluable. The main insight I’ve taken away is that an understanding of applied statistics is the best background to have within this industry.

Can you share an experience or two that sums up your time in the program best? Is there a particular member of the faculty, project, or course that you would consider to be a defining moment for you?

The class that I enjoyed the most was “Intro to Data Science.” A defining moment was when the course began, and I did not expect such a mathematical approach to the subject. I expected the course to be similar to other data science tutorials or certifications I had completed, but after a short period, I realized that the professor understood how important a fundamental understanding of statistics was in the field. This course definitely gave me an upper hand when comparing myself to students from other programs.

Read more at Dedman College.

2017 Alumni July 2017

‘Empathy, adaptability and persistence’

As a newly minted SMU graduate with three degrees, Kovan Barzani not only has exceeded his Kurdish-American parents’ expectations, but also reinforced their decision to flee Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime for “peace and peace of mind” in the U.S.
While weighing three college scholarships during his last year at Liberty High School in Frisco, Kovan recalls his mother’s singular request, delivered with a smile: “Be sure to get at least two degrees – one for you and one for me.”
As it happens, Kovan chose SMU precisely because it could offer not two but the three degrees he sought – in economics, public policy and management – while helping him cultivate the three virtues most valued by his family: “empathy, adaptability and persistence.” Also a plus: His Plano-based family would be nearby as he navigated the next four years.
Read more at SMU News.