Brandeis International Business School

Danling Ma, MSBA’20: Discovering her passion for machine learning

Danling Ma

What led you to the Brandeis MSBA program?

I got my bachelor’s degree in accounting but I’ve always been interested in science and technology, so I started looking for a graduate STEM degree that would be right for me. I found that business analytics would allow me to get involved with programming and would also leverage my business background.

The Brandeis International Business School’s MSBA program has breadth with several tracks while also having a flexible university-wide curriculum. For example, I took Introduction to Natural Language Processing with Python in the Computational Linguistics Department, and Healthcare Data Analytics and Data Mining at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. The program’s STEM designation, which will give me up to 36 months to accumulate experience in the U.S., was also a big plus.

What were some highlights of your time at Brandeis?

One of my favorite experiences was the Industry Trek in California organized by the Career Strategies Center, where we toured and talked to employees at top tech firms including Google, Apple and Adobe, as well as a startup in downtown San Francisco. On that trip, I learned a lot about the differences in culture and operations between big companies and startups. For a business analytics student, Silicon Valley is a dream destination. I was also touched by the warm-hearted and helpful alumni we met, and I’ve stayed connected with several of them.

How has the program shaped your career goals?

My initial plan was to learn some coding skills and develop a stronger business background, particularly having to do with tech companies, so I could become a business analyst. Through courses such as Marketing Analytics and Machine Learning, I found that my passion is to help businesses discover insights and build products using machine learning. In my summer internship as a data science intern in the Bay Area, I tackled complex problems such as forecasting and optimization, which helped me see my potential and boosted my interest in being a data scientist.

What insight can you offer someone considering the MSBA program?

The Brandeis MSBA program is great for anyone who wants to pivot their career from the business side to the technology side. It opens up opportunities and lets you see your potential. The friendly and accessible professors, together with a rigorous study environment, really make it stand out.

Master of Science in Business Analytics
Class of 2020

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Youssef Aljabi