This is Why I Teach: Getting Students Job Interviews Edition

I live for emails like below – real instances of my teaching helping students do well.

My student Janybek Monolbaev was wonderful in my TO628: Advanced Big Data Analytics class. It is a hard class to teach – we go from students starting to learn basics of R to building predictive models in seven short weeks. It helps though to have such talented and engaged students as Janybek. When I built the course in 2016, I tried to make it as applied, as hands-on, as practical as possible. It is great to see that all that work is actually helping students do well in their professional aspirations.

I am reproducing Janybek‘s email with his permission. I am redacting references to the specific company.

Hi Sanjeev,

I hope that you are doing great and enjoying the spring. I just wanted to thank you for teaching TO628 as the skills that I learned in that class helped me pass one of the toughest analytics assignments at (name redacted). I have applied for a Sr. Anti-Fraud Associate role and the team sent me a data set with some fraudulent and legit transactions. The team asked me to present insights/solutions based on the data, so I immediately thought to use the skills and knowledge from TO628 class.

The assignment and data looked very similar to the final group project, so I used the principles, steps, and the R code to tackle the problem. It took me about 8 hours to clean and normalize the data, but it paid off big times. By using some ML algorithms (Logistic Regression and Decision Tree), I was able to crack the case and show that my model can predict 95% of fraudulent orders and potentially save 75% of fraud related chargebacks with only 0.45% of legit orders getting blocked. I created a short presentation and sent it to the team for the evaluation. Next thing I know I was invited for a 2-hour long interview with the team. This was a big win and a testament to your teachings. Thank you. I’ll keep you posted on the progress and regardless of the result I am happy that I could apply my classroom skills in the real world.

This was a real case of the Ross difference and action based learning.

This is why I teach. This is what makes all the work worth it.


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