On her MEng Experience:My motivation for coming to the MEng program was to see what was out there. Education is really important to me, so after working for several years, I knew I wanted to go back to school. The data science buzz started growing during my time at EY- this degree didn’t really exist when I was in college. I was curious to learn more about data science, and to my delight, it built upon what I had already been doing. I really loved being back as a master’s student at Cal! As an undergrad, UC Berkeley tore all my confidence away [laughs]. I thought I was smart in high school, but college was a whole new experience. During my undergrad career, I had so many different backup plans (i.e. I would major in statistics in case I didn’t get into the business program) because I thought I wasn’t good enough. This experience ended up being invaluable and I quickly realized that if I can handle UC Berkeley, I can handle anything! I was quite nervous to come back again, but I was really proud of myself when I graduated MEng. I enrolled in the part-time program while I worked at EY full-time. I was three years into my career at this point, and I remember being in classes with my peers, most of which whom had twice as much work experience as me. We would share stories about how we did things differently at work, and it was amazing to learn from each other. I travel a lot, so I remember one semester I was on an airplane four days a week to get to my Wednesday classes. It definitely took a toll, but I like to think that the more things you have going on, the more organized you have to be. You just have to be diligent about blocking out your calendar!
On Her Work These Days:My day-to-day at EY is always different. I’m generally client facing, and I work with a team of data scientists to solve my clients’ challenges. On Monday morning, I might get on a flight somewhere to talk to senior executives about their data and analytics strategy, and on Thursday I’m helping my team members with statistical analysis and coding. No two days ever are the same.
Data science has the potential to create measurable impact. The numbers always give crucial direction to help lead an organization.I feel especially lucky because at EY, I work on varying projects for a range of companies that have enabled me to become a great solver. (Because of that, I think starting one’s career off with some form of consulting is a great first step.) Additionally, I’m grateful for the resources at EY, because as a larger firm, EY is able to invest in things that some smaller companies can’t. For example, EY recently invested its resources in allowing me the opportunity to work with an impact entrepreneur in Nepal.
On Pro bono Work:I really enjoy giving back, and doing pro bono work gives me a sense of purpose. I mean, generally people agree that giving back is good, but it’s important to think about how as individuals, we can maximize our impact by taking advantage of our unique skills. I’m fortunate to have had a great education that has allowed me to contribute in a very actionable way. EY has made a commitment to impact 1 billion people by 2030- through what we call a “ripple effect.” For us, that means providing low bono consulting services for impact entrepreneurs. We look for entrepreneurs who are working towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — companies whose goals are things like eliminating world hunger and poverty. I was given the really cool opportunity to work with an organization working in the clean water and sanitation space in Nepal. I support and organization called DataKind. I heard the founder speak on campus during a DataEdge conference. I’ve supported a company that provides information on nonrenewable energy sources- they synthesis various data sources together so that the public has access to what’s going on in their community.
On Advice for Students:I always tell people: “Whatever job you think you’re going to do at the start of college [or any time period], probably won’t be the one you actually do, because the job you will do might not exist today.” As I started my career, I realized that there was a lot that I didn’t know, and I needed to prepared for growth. When opportunities presented themselves, I took the one that seemed the most challenging, because I knew it’d be the best way for me to gain new skills.
I always tried to take the opportunity that seemed the most challenging, because I knew it’d be the best way for me to gain new skills.I do a lot of recruiting, and I’ve been impressed recently because everyone seems to have really strong technical skills, and everyone seems to have graduated from a great college. I look for leadership qualities, or great problem solving skills- things like being really articulate, or being able to formulate a problem statement and work through it in a good flow. Everyone may take the same classes, but it’s these qualitative skills that really set people apart in the workplace.
What’s Next for Rachelle:At some point in the far off future, I want to live in another country. Preferably, in a country that doesn’t speak any English. I’ve lived in California all my life, so I think that would be a lot of fun. I’m all about fitness, so I also really want to do a triathlon! Professionally speaking, I’m pretty happy with where I am. I think the workplace is changing in a pace greater than ever before. I strive to be in a place where I’m challenged and constantly learning, while also being able to support the people around me.” — As told to Anna Liang Connect with Rachelle // Fung Features is an all-new series dedicated to showcasing Fung alumni from various cohorts and backgrounds and learning more about their lives and their stories. If you’re interested in being featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Rachelle Kresch MEng ’18 (IEOR) was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.