Sam Engelberg, ‘18SPS, entered Columbia with an undergraduate degree in Global Market Management. Now, he works as a Business Intelligence Strategist. He reflects on how earning an M.S. in Applied Analytics enabled him to incorporate a quantitative approach to his global experience in marketing.
Tell us about your career before you enrolled at Columbia. When did you discover the importance of having technical skills in addition to marketing management knowledge?
Working at two startups at an early stage in my career enabled me to become familiar with a wide range of business and technical concepts while having the flexibility to explore and decide where my interests lie. It was when I delved into my first machine learning research paper that I realized what great opportunities lie in understanding and enhancing the way we as humans interact on a daily basis. This was quickly mirrored in the most fundamental things we were working on as a business and triggered an array of ideas on how to automate much of the redundant work I had come across.
Not a day went by at Columbia where I was not inspired by one of my peers, mentors or professors to uncover something new and mesmerizing."
Why did you want a degree in Applied Analytics specifically? What made Columbia the right choice for you?
From an early point in my career, I knew that I wanted to be involved in shaping the way we interact with technologies that surround us, and it quickly became obvious that both the development as well as the nature of these technologies will be driven by advanced analytics. When I decided to explore a degree in Applied Analytics, I was convinced that it would be the perfect balance between comprehending and executing technical knowledge while always having the business, product, and consumer in mind. It is precisely this balance that makes me confident in my decision of having pursued this program to this day.
I knew that I wanted to be involved in shaping the way we interact with technologies that surround us, and it quickly became obvious that both the development as well as the nature of these technologies will be driven by advanced analytics.”
What was the Columbia experience like for you as a student from Austria?
Coming from Austria, Columbia and NYC quickly captivated me as being a place where I would have endless opportunities to learn and grow by being surrounded by some of the most motivating, passionate, and hard-working people in the world. The fact that within an hour [I could] learn 10 different things from 10 people who all seemingly have burning desires to share and grow their knowledge fascinates me to this day.
How important is it to have a global perspective in your career?
Growing up at an international school in Austria, my peers from over 60 countries [inspired me to] understand how people think and work across the world. A global perspective in my career has not only become important but truly essential in my ability to understand and navigate the fast-paced and ever-changing global technology landscape. As innovations continue to emerge, I have been inspired by people across the world, while becoming more aware of our role as global citizens in sharing and embracing collaboration with a common purpose of creating a better tomorrow.
Describe the most challenging part(s) of the Applied Analytics program. How have you been able to implement some of the skills you’ve learned from that experience(s) at your current job?
One of my biggest challenges throughout my time in the Applied Analytics program was taking my first machine learning course. Having barely met the math requirements, I knew I was up for a challenge and was quickly proven to be more than right. What I took out of the course was… a strongly enhanced passion for the subject matter as well as a confidence boost that I would be able to learn a lot of things if I am willing to put my mind to it. I carry both of these skills with me to this day and relive this experience at work, every day.
What advice would you give to a current student looking for career opportunities after graduation? How can they utilize the Applied Analytics faculty and staff as well as the Career Design Lab to advance in their career?
Find, meet, and learn from people who inspire you. At Columbia, you will continuously be surrounded by people who are highly passionate, and willing and able to share their experiences, knowledge, and habits with you. Don’t let a day pass in which you need to ask yourself if you have made the most out of your time and know that the only person running after you is yourself.