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Chris Morello: Applying Skills in Analytics to Real-World Situations

Through the M.S. in Applied Analytics program, Chris Morello (’18SPS, Applied Analytics) developed a more in-depth understanding about programming and data science techniques and how to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical audiences. These skills proved useful in his role at Goldman Sachs, where he worked while completing the program part-time. During his time as a student, Morello was promoted from Analyst to Associate and transitioned from the Mutual Fund Oversight team to the Fundamental Equity team to focus on equity product management and strategy.

What did you like most about the program?

What I liked most about the Applied Analytics program at Columbia is that every course puts you in real-world scenarios while learning from industry-leading professionals. So, in addition to learning key analytic techniques such as exploratory data analysis, machine learning, Bayesian statistics, and varying programming languages, you are also learning how to put these skills and techniques to use in practical real-world settings by working hands-on with some of the world’s largest corporations and leaders in analytics.

How have you applied the knowledge and skills you built in the program?

Learning how to bridge the communication gap between a technical audience and non-technical audience is a very important skill that I’ve obtained from this program. This is especially important for the industry that I work in, as there is a constant push to better utilize and implement big data and deep learning in the financial industry. Understanding both sides of the spectrum is increasingly important and this program gave me both the analytical skills along with practical business use cases and strategy techniques to be able to bridge this gap.

Additionally, learning the fundamentals of programming and data science techniques helped me better understand how to work with data and the true benefits of being able to use unstructured data as an “offensive” tool for competitive advantage in addition to using data as a “defensive” tool to mitigate risk.

Lastly, the collaboration, communication, and presentation aspect of the capstone course was something that enabled me to get exposure to some of the top players in the industry. The capstone and block week courses not only challenged me to perform at the highest level but also created an innovative and idea-sharing culture between classmates which is something I will take with me and leverage as I continue throughout my career.

What is it like being part of the Columbia network of fellow students, alumni, faculty, and industry?

Learning from and working with the highest caliber professors and classmates was one of the key drivers that enabled me to gain and build on the aforementioned skills. Working on industry-leading projects not only exposed me to new skills but gave me the chance to be a part of unique and game changing opportunities in analytics.

The diversity and breadth of talent across the Columbia network is something that not only helped me grow as a student but also had a significant impact on my career. As a new alumnus of the University, I am looking forward to continuing to connect with the Columbia community in impactful ways as I progress in my career.