Martin Alonso G’19 always dreamed of attending school in the United States after graduating from Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. His undergraduate degree was in philosophy, but he knew that he had a passion for sports analytics and wanted more technical experience so he could pursue it as a career. This combination of a drive to study at a school in the United States and learn data analytics was what ultimately led him to the iSchool to get his master’s degree in applied data science through the online program.
“Since my background was in humanities, I needed programming experience to get into the field of data science,” said Alonso. “I’d also always wanted to study in the United States, so ending up at the iSchool was a happy result of that.
Over the past 8 years, Alonso has had a wide range of experiences working with two of the top financial institutions in Peru, a telecommunications company, consulting about statistical models, and research for the website Baseball Prospectus. Many of his roles have been centered around business intelligence and data visualization.
Alonso chose the iSchool because of its highly ranked programs and he felt that it had the best course options out of all the schools he applied to. He was also impressed by the quality of the professors for his courses. He loved that they constantly challenged students, and worked with them to find answers instead of just telling them.
Another one of his favorite parts about being at the iSchool was the diversity of students in his program. While his program was online, he was able to attend a weekend seminar at SU during the summer of 2019 to connect with his professors and peers.
“The students I worked with came from a variety of backgrounds. It wasn’t just people who had years of experience in data analytics, but I also met people who had never worked with any sort of analytics before starting their degree, and those were the people who asked really great questions to help the rest of us learn,” said Alonso.
Since attending the iSchool, Alonso has seen major growth in his career because it opened up so many job opportunities for him. He’s also appreciative of how he was able to grow as a student and professional during his time there.
“One important thing I learned at the iSchool was how to ask better questions about my job,” said Alonso. “I used to take information given to me for granted, but now I know how to look deeper at a problem and ask questions so I can find better ways to approach it.
In the future, Alonso would like to have a full-time career in Sports Analytics, specifically in either hockey or baseball. He is very happy working in data analytics because he loves getting to work in positions where he can use analytics to help make decisions to push an industry forward.
Now that Alonso has graduated from the iSchool and moved on to his career, he encourages other international students who are interested to do the same.
“Make sure that you are 100 percent sure that it’s what you want to do, and go for it,” he says. “Grad school is competitive, so you have to challenge yourself, but it’s definitely worth it.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Martin Alonso’s story or what it’s like to be an international student studying applied data science at the iSchool, he will be joining us for a virtual event on February 26th! For more information, visit our events page.