Being open to every opportunity: that's how Heidi Friedrich, an alumna of Kogod's Master of Science in Analytics (MSAn) program, got to where she is today. From learning to code to exploring marketing plans, the MSAn gave her skills she didn't even know she needed.
Originally from Iowa, Friedrich came to D.C. for her undergraduate degree in Accounting. She now works at Ernst & Young in Financial Accounting Advisory Services and credits Kogod for teaching her new ways to solve problems.
The Master's in Analytics is a 33 credit hour program where students learn to use data analysis to solve business problems.
Read more about Friedrich's experience and how Kogod's MSAn got her to where she is today.
Kogod School of Business: What drew you to the program?
Heidi Friedrich: I was interested in the program because it offered great international opportunities and it was flexible! I was looking for ways to diversify my skillset. Analytics was something the firm I work at was really looking into, so it seemed like a great next step.
KSB: How have you used the skills that you developed in your program?
HF: One thing the program helps you develop is critical thinking skills. You always have to look at a problem and say 'How can I solve this using data and using an analytical mindset to get solutions.'
The program develops this style of thinking. Businesses need employees with an analytic mindset that know how to look at data and really get value from it.
KSB: What did you enjoy most about your experience at Kogod?
HF: The personalized attention from faculty members. During the program, I could knock on a professor's door and meet with him or her at any time. Tailoring the program to my wants and desires was something that really set AU apart.
The practicum was also very useful. You get to work with a company and apply the skills you acquire throughout the program to a real-life consulting engagement. The company takes your advice into consideration. You actually get the real challenges of working with data instead of being in a controlled environment in the classroom. Our group worked on a local weather company in their marketing and mobile app space.
KSB: What about the program was most impactful for you?
HF: Besides the practicum, I would say the connections I made. I met so many great colleagues during this program, and I still keep in touch with them. I have friends in marketing and other areas of business that are using analytics. This provides me with a great professional network.
I also think the Kogod Center for Career Development does a great job of finding employment for students. It's a campus resource specific to Kogod, and they mentor you through the job search process.
KSB: What ways do you think the program helped prepare you for what you're doing today?
HF: The practicum helped me learn to better manage and organize myself to meet deadlines and do the best work I can. There were other challenging things, too. Before this program, I didn't know how to code. It was hard at first, but I really saw the rewards down the line.
KSB: Why is this program important?
HF: This program is valuable to students from any background-liberal arts and business alike. Especially living here in D.C. with political science, analytics is huge.
D.C. is also a great location. There are so many international opportunities and a variety of businesses in the area. You might work for an international organization with people from other cultures and backgrounds. I think that's great. It's something that drew me to the D.C. area.
KSB: What advice would you give to a prospective student?
HF: Be open to anything. As an accounting major, you might think that's the only thing you want to focus on. Don't be afraid to branch out, however. I learned about so many other areas while in the program.
For example, I looked at marketing in the practicum. As an accountant, that might not have been something I normally study, but developing that skill throughout the program was great.
I think you should go for any opportunity here at Kogod or anywhere. Just be open.
If you're "open" to learning more, visit the Master of Science in Analytics page.