Working while Pursuing the MSBA

For students working part- or full-time while pursuing the MSBA degree, the path is not easy; however, the return on investment can be high for both the individual and the company.

Christabelle Kozlik is a Product Manager at Dodge Data & Analytics, a software company providing insight to firms in the construction industry. The company is located in Boston, but she was able to work remotely in order to attend classes in Missoula. Over the course of the year, Christabelle utilized datasets from Dodge for class projects to keep the work relevant to her areas of interest. For example, her analysis of the company’s past agile sprint cycles offered insights into assigning specific developers specific tasks. She also used sentiment analysis to examine Net Promoter Score text reviews. As Christabelle’s technical skills developed over the course of the program, she was able to tackle challenging data problems that she did not previously have the skillset for and provide even greater value to Dodge. 

While pursuing the MSBA degree, Jason Wiener continued to run his consulting practice providing strategic data-driven insights to a variety of Montana civic engagement and social welfare groups. In addition, Jason collaborated with a group of faculty and students at the Big Sky Poll -- a public opinion poll of Montana voters that ascertained opinions on the performance of elected officials and significant issues in politics and policy. Jason reflected, “In both positions, the statistical knowledge and technical skills I learned in the MSBA program accelerated the work and sharpened my analysis.”

Rachael Cheff analyzing data at PartnersCreative.

Rachael Cheff, a previous undergraduate in the marketing program at UM, worked throughout the year at PartnersCreative, a full-service advertising agency serving national clients from Missoula; she serves as both an assistant project manager and a data analyst in the digital department. Her time is split between managing Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns and in report writing, where she analyzes the available data and provides insight for a non-technical audience. Rachael’s time in the MSBA helped her to think critically about how to obtain, clean, and structure data, which ultimately resulted in improved insight for clients.

Working at a cybersecurity consulting firm LMG Security based in Missoula as the Marketing Manager, Chris Jambor used the skills learned in the program to optimize digital marketing efforts, develop data collection and warehousing procedures, evaluate historical customer data to discover CRM insights, and help realign financial strategy. Chris states, “LMG Security is a multimillion dollar cyber-security business that is moving out of start-up phase and has been using data analytics in their strategic planning for the future. I've been able to put my new knowledge to work and it's been a great learning experience.”

Students also utilized and honed their skills through internships with local businesses. Mary Makris partnered with TOMIS, a company providing marketing software and services for tour operators (such as raft guides), on a number of projects; she optimized Google Adwords campaigns and analyzed transaction data and customer review data to generate insights. Marty Grant’s work at LumenAd proved his capabilities in machine learning and led to a full-time position upon graduation.

While working throughout the rigorous MSBA program is a challenge, the students highlighted above have paved the way for future cohorts to excel in both the academic and professional environment.