RealJobs: Nick Noel

My Statistics Class has been Stalking Me Since I left BC or Computers in Management saved my life….Twice.

Long Title for a short post, but seriously both of those are true. I’m just going to dive in and talk about what skills I’ve found to be the most helpful for me since I’ve stared working. For this, I really want to shout out two professors, Prof. Ames and Fr. McGowan, both at Carroll School of Management (CSOM), no relation. In my first post I mentioned I’d give you a sense of the classes that I wish I had taken or the skills I wish I had. Let me add a caveat/nuance that a little bit. These are two classes I was actually lucky enough to take, BUT I wish I had paid more attention to, which isn’t to say I wasn’t awake in class– I was. [Sidebar, very hard not to pay attention when Fr. McGowan used me as a character in his examples in class.]

Nothing has been more useful on a very practical level than knowing Microsoft Excel inside and out. However, as an undergrad you have no idea how important one simple program will be in your life. And my friends, Microsoft Excel will make or break you! As for statistics, I won’t say it’s an absolutely necessary skill. Nevertheless, it’s a type of analysis that is useful to understand the basic concepts of. No matter what you’re doing– whether it’s looking at bonds, student test scores, or economic/social indicators, the ability to paint a picture and have your assumptions tested and verified with the kind of rigorous methodology used in stats will give you a leg up.

Maybe it’s the curious George in me, but I’ve stared at a lot of different data sets, and will undoubtedly be looking at many more. Most careers (marketing, research, policy work, finance, etc.) ask questions. They pose hypotheses. Does this factor impact this outcome? Will providing this service improve this particular thing? Does this indicator correlate with this phenomena. You need statistics to answer those questions. And I will be very honest with you. You get one maybe two chances to sit down and learn the fundamentals — otherwise, good luck getting through “Statistics for Dummies” on your train ride or between work and happy hour.

OK. To summarize.  My favorite classes at BC were the humanities courses that I took (shout out to Fr. Himes and Fr. Schloesser!) and the interesting theoretical, provocative classes like Foreign Policy with Prof. Jacobs, Alternative Globalizations with Profs. Baldwin/Levenson. Those all served me well and gave me the reasons why I’m passionate about private sector led economic development.  But at the end of the day, when folks are looking through a pile of resumes, the things that stick out to them will vary –but you’ll stand out the most if you have passions and experiences to back them up, but more importantly skills like Microsoft Office Suite, Accounting, Accees, Computer Programming, Creative Writing Samples, Statistics, Languages, etc. those tangible skills complement your story and give the resume reader a reason to sell you to whoever is hiring, because they really want someone that knows how to do what you can do!

It’s crazy– Database Skills, not just my service trips to Haiti and DR helped me get flagged for the job I’m at currently, so next time you knock CSOM, remember you might be paying to take continuing ed courses that you can fit into your time at BC right now!

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