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Fall 2021 Profile Evaluation - MS Data Science / Analytics (Non-STEM Background)

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Hey all,

First and foremost thank you for reading my profile evaluation.

I'd love to hear your feedback on my stats, the programs I've selected, my chances of admission, and if there are any programs that you'd suggest I consider given my profile. I am a student with a non-STEM background and I have the bare minimum prerequisite courses to apply to these programs (with good grades thankfully). I am hoping that through my GRE score and LOR/SOP (which I'm still writing) I'll be able to catch the attention of at least one admissions committee, and secure a spot in one of these programs. My ultimate goal is to acquire the technical background necessary to transition from Finance to Data Science.

Thanks for your time, and I'm looking forward to hearing what you all think!

Undergrad Institution: Large State school Decent/Good Business School

GPA: 3.64

Majors: Business Admin - Finance

GRE General Test:
V: 164
W: 5.0

Relevant Course Work:

  • Calculus I & II (A-,A)
  • Business Stats (A-)
  • Linear Algebra I (A)
  • Intro to CS (A)
  • By the time of matriculation (As in I'm planning on taking these in the near future):
    • Calculus III, Multivariate Calculus
    • Data Structures and Algorithms

Type of Student:  Domestic Student (native US)

Programs Applying: Masters in Data Science mostly, some Masters in Analytics. My goal is to pivot careers into DS.

Research Experience: None (as you probably guessed given my background)

Letters of Recommendation: 

  • One great one from business capstone professor
  • Two very good ones from internship in market research & Analytics department (One Data Scientist, One Marketing Manager)

Work Experience:

  • Analytics Intern (5 months)– became proficient with Alteryx, Tableau/Power BI. Experience in manipulating/transforming/cleaning large datasets which I'd then use to make dashboards and track KPIs. Started learning Python at the end of it under the tutelage of a full time DS.

  • Financial Analyst (1.5 years by matriculation) – several high impact projects that look good on my resume. Lots of face-time with senior management explaining business impacts of whatever data I’m requested to work on. Used some Python scripting to automate reporting, built semi complex models in Power BI.

My current list:

  • NYU – Masters in Data Science

  • University of Chicago - Masters in Analytics

  • University of San Francisco - Masters in Data Science

  • Brown – Masters in Data Science

  • Georgia Tech – Masters in Analytics

  • Northwestern – Masters in Analytics

  • MIT – Masters in Business Analytics

  • Carnegie Mellon University – Masters in Data Science

  • Columbia – Masters in Data Science

  • Duke - MIDS (Haven't researched this one that much yet)

I feel that I'm reaching quite high, but am hoping that with some luck I'll hear back from at least one program. If anyone has any opinions or advice I'd love to hear it (even if the truth hurts). If you have a program you'd like to suggest, I'd love to hear that as well!


Thanks again!



Edited by two_dicey
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  • 5 weeks later...


First of all I want to say that in my opinion I think you have a pretty solid chance of success, perhaps depending on the program you are applying to.

I'm a current student at the Harvard Masters in Data Science program and in undergrad I studied neuroscience with a minor in computer science. I had a fairly strong background in computer science when I applied (fundamentals + a few advanced courses), though my math experience was just barely meeting the requirements (my calculus experience was solely from taking AB and BC in high school). This is all to say that I understand coming at this from a non-traditional background – a lot of people in these programs did CS/Math/Engineering in undergrad. That said, I know many programs, in particular Harvard's, really understand and value the interdisciplinary nature of data science, so coming from a business/finance background is not necessarily a disadvantage. 

In terms of your stats, I think you're pretty good! Your GRE scores are well within range for top programs and your GPA is good, lower than I think the average is for Harvard but I don't know about other schools. I think your solid LORs will be very helpful and your work experience sounds stellar, I would definitely prioritize it in your personal statement.

Let me know if you have any questions about anything I said. And best of luck! I'm pretty confident you'll be successful. 

(also I have to note that Harvard isn't on your list of schools... just saying) 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Two_Dicey! I was just wondering if you have heard back from any of the schools you applied to yet? I too am trying to transition from Finance to Data Science and I'm starting to worry about my chances. 

Edited by KMickey
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