The delights of passion
As Tom channels his affinity for music and sports in Beloit, he walks us through his journey from class to landing his first job at the consulting firm to flourishing in the Data Analytics field.
How did your high school experience help shape and prepare you for college?
I enjoyed various extracurricular activities in high school, from playing soccer to singing in different choirs to competing on the Speech team. However, the experience I had with the Impromptu event was the most valuable experience of my high school years in building my confidence, public speaking, and interview skills. Besides, I was also intrigued by learning about other cultures and languages after my 10-day exchange program in France during my high school years.
What made you come to Beloit College?
I chose Beloit after my best friend visited and immediately recommended the college to me. I was impressed by the supportiveness of Beloit College coaches and professors. I could continue pursuing my passion for music and sports with the help of the Soccer coach and the Choral characters. I was encouraged to explore and find my path. Right at that moment, I knew Beloit College was the right place.
How was your transition from high school to college during your freshman year? What was your most memorable experience?
In my freshman year, the first thing I did and was my most valuable experience was joining the Soccer team (I did not get recruited from the beginning). The team was full of very skilled players, and to be honest, I was struggling at that time. My teammate understood the game in a way I did not. My skills were not exceptional compared to the team overall. However, at the end of the season, I was voted to be the Most Improved Player! Throughout my 4-year of college, my Soccer team was my family at Beloit!
In terms of your academic experience, what were your favorite courses at Beloit College that helped shape your current career path?
A top contender that had nothing to do with my majors would be an IDST course in Artificial Intelligence taught by Professor Robin Zebrowski in my sophomore year. It introduced me to the concept of AI from all edges (philosophical, computational, and even cultural lenses). The course was challenging yet exciting and coincidentally turned out to support me with my career in data analytics!
I’m always amazed at your involvement and contribution to Beloit College. Could you tell us some of your significant projects during your time at Beloit?
I did work on multiple exciting research and consulting projects with Professor Jeff Adams through Belmark Associates (a market research firm run by students). Projects such as a study of Beloit’s representation in local papers and analysis of carbon credit laws and progress by the state were my first exposure to data generation, collection, and application issues. Those projects were immensely valuable when I started a career in consulting at a small firm.
You mentioned earlier that you enjoyed your Greek life during your time at Beloit College. Did you come to Beloit knowing that you would want to join Greek life?
I did not plan for it; fraternities and rituals were never really my thing. However, in my junior year, I felt disconnected from the broader community (one of the unfortunate consequences of staying busy with hobbies), so I decided to join Tau Kappa Epsilon (fraternity on campus). I chose TKE because I know that they put focus on their philanthropy and community service. TKE was not what I thought of as a stereotypical fraternity. Thanks to TKE, I have made great friends and connections that inspired me to stay involved beyond my time at Beloit.
How would you recap your senior year with some of your experience at Beloit College?
My senior year was busy - the first word that came to my mind when you asked. I took some Economics courses - they were challenging yet rewarding. Any classes with Professor Bob Elder filled me with joy, not to mention that his Econometrics course helped me get my first job. I did my senior seminar with Professor Emily Chamlee - Wright in which I studied the work of Upton Scholar Elinor Ostrom. It allowed me to discover the overlap of Economics with other social sciences, view how the discipline was evolving, and discuss it in real-time. Other courses in the Political Science departments helped introduce me to different Economics perspectives, not just its mathematics side.
What was your first job after graduation?
My first job after graduation was at a consulting firm - Mather Economics. My experience with Mather Economics sparked my interest and motivated me to go further in the Data Analytics field. My work was an ongoing process of receiving new questions, studying what my team knew, and then testing and changing as we found what worked. The combination of math, creativity and constant learning felt like everything I loved about the Liberal Arts, and I have been firmly anchored to analytics ever since.
How about your current job? What are some of your daily tasks?
My current role is the Senior Manager at Cardlytics for our bank partner - Chase Bank. My daily tasks are sending ongoing reporting, designing tests to understand customer behavior better, and forecasting various initiatives’ engagement and revenue impacts.