New Student Interviews: Maya Bidanda

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The new semester has just begun, and with that comes a new batch of promising Master of Science in Data Science students. To celebrate our incoming class, we decided to talk with five of the incoming students, to hear about their backgrounds, their interests, and their goals for the future. We’ll be interviewing one student each day of this week, and today we’ll be talking with Maya Bidanda.

What did you study during your undergraduate education?

I double majored in Economics and Music at Smith College.

What drew you to the Master of Science in Data Science program?

My work experience has shown me the importance of being able to expertly understand and manipulate data. I look forward to formalizing the skills that I have accumulated through work experience, and gaining a greater proficiency in data analytics.

Can you talk about some of the work experience you had before coming into the Master of Science in Data Science program?

I spent three years at J.P. Morgan Chase, working in various areas of the company. My research focused on identifying revenue and asset growth trends in the asset manager sector. I also conducted research on capital markets, as a way of identifying potential investment opportunities.

I currently work at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in the Financial Intermediation Research division, where I’m conducting research on mergers in the banking industry, and household finance trends.

What affect did those positions have on you?

Having worked with data extensively for varying audiences, I have grown to understand the importance of data as a means of substantiate communication.  I have used data to advocate new investment strategies to clients, to unearth crucial financial trends for business leaders, and to provide meaningful insights for the academic community.

Within the field of data science, there are many different disciplines, and an even wider set of possible applications.  Can you talk about the subsets of data science, or the data science applications that you’re most interested in perusing?

I am particularly interested in taking machine learning courses, as well as statistics classes in the economics department. I have tinkered with machine learning in my research—to help better identify trends in capital markets—and I want to further this work.

I’m also looking forward to the cross-discipline electives that are offered.

Of your fall courses, which one are you most excited about? Why?

I’m looking forward to Introduction to Data Science. During my undergraduate studies, I took computer science, math, and statistics courses, and so I am interested to see how Introduction to Data Science will intersect with those undergraduate courses. I am also hoping to get an overview of the different subsets of data science. I want to see how the concepts that I’ve learned in my professional work are formalized into an academic curriculum.

What are you ultimately looking to get out of your time at the Center for Data Science?

I’m looking to formalize the skills and theories that I have developed in my work experience, and I’m also looking to learn new approaches and skills that will make me a more effective researcher.