The University’s Pompea College of Business offers innovative STEM programs that instill in-demand skills in all students and provide international students the opportunity to pursue optional practical training (OPT) in the United States after completing their degrees.
March 10, 2021
Parina Lotlikar ’21 M.S. became interested in accounting at a young age, and she dreamed of working with technology as well. She is now on a career path that enables her to incorporate both interests.
A candidate in the University of New Haven’s graduate program in accounting, Lotlikar’s concentration is in artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, and she has been immersing herself in topics such as machine learning. A native of the Caribbean, she says she was interested in the program because it is science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-certified, and because she and her fellow international students in the University’s STEM business programs are eligible for up to three years of optional practical training (OPT) after graduation.
“It’s a very innovative and challenging compared to basic accounting,” she said. “What I like best about the University is that we have a lot of hands-on learning opportunities. Having such supportive faculty and staff – especially during COVID – makes a huge difference.”
‘You really differentiate yourself from others’
Lotlikar recently shared her story as part of a business analytics panel for accepted international students. She discussed what she has learned through her coursework, as well as her internship at Deloitte, where she is serving as an audit and assurance associate intern.
The demand for data analytics skills is steadily increasing, say the University of New Haven professors who teach data analytics and who have extensive real-world experience. Michael Davis ’86 MBA, who spent more than 30 years at Nestlé and served as vice president and officer, says business analytics is in demand.
“Professionals no longer sit in an analytics or data department – they’re now embedded throughout the business,” said Prof. Davis, executive director of the University’s MBA cohort program. “In the end, you’re the ones who are adding insight and intelligence to the organization. If you can provide this, you really differentiate yourself from others.”
Dave Sacco, MBA, an economics and finance professor at the University who previously worked on Wall Street, says businesses want to hire professionals with a data analytics skillset so they don’t have to hire professionals outside the company to assist with business analytics.
“We’re expecting people to have those skills when they get into the business,” said Prof. Sacco, a former managing director at UBS. “I instill in my students that if you leave business school without a background in business analytics, you’re at a disadvantage. When I worked on Wall Street, I was trying to hire people who had the skillsets that you will get as part of a business analytics or data analytics program.”
‘Everything we were presenting was backed by data’
Jocelyn Rodrigues ’21 MBA, who is pursuing the University’s STEM-designated data analytics concentration in the MBA program, says she was attracted to the University of New Haven because it was one of the few STEM-certified MBA programs offered by an AACSB-certified school.
As part of the University’s Shared Live Client Experience (SLiCE) program, she and her classmates worked with two companies to help them solve real business challenges. She conducted a social media audit and drafted a strategy plan with visuals and recommendations for a nonprofit organization in the healthcare industry, and she audited a leading pharmaceutical distribution company’s operational process and offered recommendations to streamline it.
“A key highlight was using data analytics to discover problem areas in their processes and guide the management team to recommendations,” said Rodrigues, who is also pursuing a graduate certificate in healthcare informatics at the University. “The client knew that everything we were presenting was backed by data.”
‘I’m still speechless about what I have done’
Rodrigues applied what she has learned in the classroom to her work as a brand management intern at RB, a consumer goods company that owns brands such as Lysol. At the end of her internship, she presented her brand strategy to several of the company’s senior leaders. Although she was initially concerned that she would not be hired full time because she is an international student, she received an offer to work as a full-time assistant brand manager. She will begin working in their marketing headquarters in New Jersey in June.
“Analytics is gaining prominence in almost every industry,” she said. “The faculty and staff at the University were genuinely invested in my future. I absolutely love how open and warm they are to students. This really close interpersonal multicultural experience is what makes the University really special.”
Rodrigues encouraged new students to network while at the University, to use resources such as the Career Development and Writing Centers, to find a mentor, and to get to know people from different backgrounds.
Lotlikar, the accounting student, also has a job lined up after she completes her degree. She received a full-time job offer from Deloitte, and she is looking forward to starting in September.
“When I first told them I was going to the University of New Haven, they said, wow, that’s a recognized university and you’re doing a STEM program,” she said. “Who knew an island girl like me would end up at Deloitte. I’m still speechless about what I have done.”