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Alessandro Langer: Learning from Leaders

Originally from Tuscany, Italy, Fulbright Scholar Alessandro Langer credits Columbia University’s Master of Science in Applied Analytics program, from which he graduated in May, for the opportunity to work for the Global Investment Research division of Goldman Sachs.

Why did you want a graduate degree in Applied Analytics, and what made Columbia the right choice for you?

I received my bachelor’s degree in economics from Bocconi University in Milan and I was looking for a program that would give me the tangible skills to interpret business and society. Columbia was an easy choice. Its renowned faculty, its holistic approach to education, and the possibility to customize the curriculum gives students the opportunity to personalize their experience. In particular, the master’s in Applied Analytics is designed to equip students with both the technical and soft skills needed to succeed in today’s world. It is optimal for students preparing for careers in management consulting, business analysis, and product management. Moreover, the fact that the program partners with companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Intel was definitely a plus.

What professional opportunities did the program provide?

Through one of the program’s block week courses, I had the opportunity to work on a project focusing on machine learning for the Global Investment Research division of Goldman Sachs. After the course ended, the collaboration was extended, and I am continuing to work on an academic paper on the same topic. This opportunity enabled me to strengthen my machine learning skills. It was exciting to use these skills to create a product that addresses employees’ pain points by building a UX-friendly platform and putting the variety of skills I learned through the program to use.

What were some other advantages of the program?

One of the greatest advantages of the program is the opportunity to learn from, study with, and work with not only professors who are experienced professionals, but fellow students who have years of diverse work experience. A distinction of this program is the diversity in background and experience of the cohort: there are MBAs, software engineers, business majors, lawyers, and even bankers and CEOs. As a 23-year-old student, this learning opportunity has made a real difference and has made my experience so enriching.

Is there any advice you would give to someone interested in the program?

The academics are demanding and diving into analytics requires passion and the willingness to work hard. Besides that, I would encourage students to customize their study through elective coursework, and take part in the extracurricular activities offered on campus. Personally, I joined the Columbia Consulting Club where I was able to represent the school at the Yale Graduate Case Competition.