David Parker was looking for a graduate program that gave him the opportunity to enhance his skills. Though he looked at other degree options like JD and MBA, he felt that a degree from Berkeley’s College of Engineering had the most weight for his career goals, and he was drawn to the blend of technology and business that the M.Eng. program offers. David shared what he thinks about the staff, faculty, and fellow students in this interview.
What led you to choose the Berkeley M.Eng. program?
I was specifically looking to get a more formal structure to augment my own professional growth that was largely self-taught. I appreciate the project-based coursework and learning how to think rather than look for the right answer. The focus on capstones and real world situations/problems is also right on.
In my current job at a solar company I am responsible for sales business analytics, and I’ve had to learn many skills on the job. I felt that the coursework and projects geared for engineering leadership training would compliment my own professional growth in the 6 years at my company. With a physics and math background, I also wanted to become a more effective communicator.
What is your favorite part of the Berkeley M.Eng. Program?
The best part about the program is all of my classmates! We work a great deal together, and many of us have become quite close. On Sundays, I could be spending time with one or more study groups, meeting up at the Shattuck location, or on video calls. The staff and professors are also very receptive and understanding of our tight schedules.
Also, I’m supporting myself and taking full advantage of the great professors and GSIs. I feel that I bring my experiences and learning to the classroom conversation, and it’s gratifying when I put what I learned to use at work.
Can you describe a typical day for you? What does it look like?
I’m the Sales Analytics Manager at Sungevity, so I use data analytics to provide insights into the business and drive team improvement. I generate reports, create data visualization, make data-driven sales projections, and a host of other supporting activity for the sales team and company. So really there is no typical day as much of my work consists of 1-2 week projects.
What is the most difficult part of juggling work, school, and life and how do you deal with/overcome it?
Staying organized is essential. You learn fast that there is no time to procrastinate because that “next week” is already here. So you do your homework as quickly and efficiently as you can. I’ve also learned to leverage resources—classmates, GSIs, professors, and online resources.
What are you looking to get out of this experience?
I want to bridge the gap between the tech/quantitative/analysis world with the non-tech world so all businesses, no matter the industry, can leverage the power of solid data-driven decision making.