Back in the days when I worked as an internal auditor, I often felt our traditional methodology was neither efficient nor effective enough in the new century of big data. For example, one basic auditing duty was examining a company’s operational and financial records to detect potential noncompliance issues or fraud incidents. It was supposed to be done manually, by randomly sampling dozens out of thousands or even millions of records. I thought: there must be a better way.
After several similar projects with no satisfactory findings, I heard of the term “data analytics” for the first time. Data analytics refers to the process of examining data sets in order to draw conclusions about the information they contain. With the aid of new specialized systems and software, data analytics can help finish the work more effectively and efficiently. For instance, auditors can adopt a risk-based approach instead of a random one to establishing sample sizes for process validation, so that they can detect even more issues by examining an even smaller sample size. Moreover, data analytics can help auditors discover suspicious noncompliance or fraud incidents that are difficult to uncover by checking individual samples. At that time, I realized companies were already seeking individuals with data analytics skills that I didn’t have. That’s exactly why I decided to quit my job and come to the United States so that I could pursue a degree in data analytics.
"Starting your own business is like riding a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and every turn you take is another twist.... You have to be strong, keep your stomach tight, and ride along with the roller coaster that you started." -Lindsay Manseau, photographer and entrepreneur
When I was an undergrad at Purdue, I learned that many students in my B-school have thought about starting their own business. Startups are very attractive to young professionals due to success stories like Facebook, Google, Alibaba, etc. Personally, I don’t think startup life is for everyone. Although entrepreneurship has some unique perks, it is also very risky, and careful steps should be taken before pursuing this path.
I’ve been told the best thing about being a startup founder is the feeling of freedom and autonomy. You most likely start with a small team and are able to set your own rules and schedule. You feel more in control and responsible for your own successes (or failures). A study conducted by the British venture capital investment firm BFG showed that at least 50% of startup founders have felt happier and more fulfilled since they started their business. Lastly, founders develop diverse knowledge and business skills because many times, s/he covers multiple responsibilities or those outside of his/her natural expertise, pushing you to learn the various functions of a business. My friend once told me that entrepreneurship trained her to look at the big picture and improve many soft skills, especially in sales.
“We are changing the world with Technology.” - Bill Gates
Technology advancements over past few decades has revolutionized the business world, affecting nearly all aspects of life at work. People can reach others throughout the world in a matter of seconds without need to be physically present with clients and co-workers. Communication is easier and effective, and can be done from home, in the car or on an airplane.
Although technology in business has improved the quality and efficiency of our day-to-day operations, negative sentiments still exists because of some of its adverse effects like job elimination, electronic leash, privacy, security and even communication. A recent survey shows that 1 in 4 US workers (26%) feel threatened by their jobs. In this study, these workers express that their job will be eliminated due to new technology, automation, robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years. Other data cited about 13% (of workers) say their job is in danger within 5 years, and college non-graduates are more likely to see jobs threatened in the short term.
Connecticut is home to one of the largest academic achievement gaps in the U.S. When reflecting on CT, my home of 18 years, I don’t usually think about the vast disparities in education. I grew up in the small town of Simsbury and went to Simsbury High School, a school that never fails to make Top Ten lists for the best public schools in CT. Since I have always been fortunate enough to attend some of the best public schools in CT by living in this town, I never experienced a noticeable lack of resources, funding, or teaching staff like other schools in the state, and I had always been surrounded by students who lived for rigorous courses and good grades. In contrast, Bridgeport’s Warren Harding High School has a graduation rate of 54%, along with no funding for school buses, high dropout rates, and chronic teacher shortages.