Master’s in Business Analytics: Abby Garrett, MBAn 2020

By Riley Webster | Poets & Quants | March 16, 2021

Student Name: Abby Garrett

Graduate Business School: MIT Sloan School of Management

Describe Yourself In 15 Words: Energetic communicator and analytical thinker motivated by a curiosity and love of people.

Master’s Graduation Class: 2020.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Mississippi, Math and Computer Science.

Current Employer and Job Title: Pfizer, Operations Insights Manager.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  Managing the development of a dashboard which provides visibility into the shipment and production of the COVID vaccine to the Pfizer CEO and C-suite.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: My greatest accomplishment as a graduate student was remaining motivated in the midst of a global pandemic.  My classmates are the real reason for this; making the effort to stay connected and curious despite being physically separated.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Sloan provided the opportunity to meet people from all different backgrounds.  Prior to grad school, I had been in the south my whole life, and while it will always be home, I believed coming to a graduate school in a new place, with such a diverse group of brilliant people would push me to new heights. And it did not disappoint.

What led you to choose a Master’s in Business Analytics over an MBA? In my 15 word description, I describe myself as motivated by a curiosity and love of people.  Being a Data Scientist gives access to data that opens doors for asking questions about how people think and interact.  It is the perfect avenue to explore my interest in solving hard problems with logic and data, while also exploring my fascination with people and desire to make an impact on the lives around me.

What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? Analytics Edge.  The material was incredibly practical, teaching us machine learning techniques and reviewing applicable situations where they could be used has served me well in the workforce.  It also helped that our professor, Alexandre Jacquillat, is a passionate and knowledgeable professor who genuinely cares about his students.

What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? It was the reason I landed my first job out of the program.  Pfizer was one of the program’s capstone companies, and as graduation approached, I reconnected with one of the colleagues who interviewed me for the capstone, Jonathan Lowe, who is now my boss.

How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? My classmates are the smartest, most kind-hearted, accepting people I have met in my life. Being surrounded by a group of people who consistently challenge themselves and you is a recipe for growth and success.  Beyond that, there was never a shortage of people who would help you with a problem or a project, so there was plenty of opportunity to learn from people, quite frankly, smarter than me.

Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? Honestly, it’s hard to pick just one.  The MBAn staff is phenomenal.  Tracy, our career advisor, was a constant source of strength as we faced the job search process. Giada and Zach could always lift my spirits on a rocky day.  And Michelle and Professor Bertsimas kept everyone on the path to success.  As for a professor, it would have to be Professor Jacquillat.  He was my faculty advisor for my capstone and favorite professor prior.  Despite a busy schedule, he always made time to answer questions whether about his class, the capstone, other projects, or the job search.  I even called him when deciding which job to take because I respect his opinion so much.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? This program looks of course at your intelligence, but even more so at your ability to communicate what you know and what you are passionate about.  My recommendation would be to pursue your passions and sharpen your communication skills because there is never a short supply of presentations in the MIT MBAn program, and if analytics or what you want to apply analytics to is not something you are passionate about, then you will lose steam quickly in a fast paced program.

What was your best memory from your Master’s program? Honestly too many to pick just one.  I have some of my best memories from this program.  Everything from going to NYC for the Macy’s Day Parade to a retreat we took to Maine to taking a group of classmates to their first NBA game.  While we studied a lot, and I mean a lot, we made the most of the moments in between.

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