Coming into the MQM program, I wasn’t sure where my career would go. I knew it was a great program where I would be able to learn a lot. Having studied applied mathematics in undergrad, I pursued the strategy track at Fuqua to learn how I could use my quantitative skills to make data-driven business decisions. Now, about two years after graduating with the MQM Class of 2021, I leverage my data analytics skills every day.

My Role in Data Analytics

When I was applying for jobs, I was willing to consider any opportunity I could get. At AlphaRoute, our CEO is a Fuqua alumnus. I knew with my background that I would excel as a data analyst with the startup, which is based in Boston, Massachusetts—the city I targeted after graduation. It was the perfect fit.

As a data analyst, I work with clients to acquire and clean data, and I help with data visualizations and analyses that we report to our clients. My day-to-day responsibilities involve Python coding, communicating with clients, and collaborating with my teammates to solve potential issues. We have a small team that is ready to jump in and work together at points where we need it.

Chelsea Alford with her Fuqua classmates in front of Duke Chapel

Thriving at a Startup

The office culture at a small startup is unique. Even with independent work, we find a way to work together. One of my favorite parts about working at a startup is the hands-on nature of our work. It’s motivating to know that I have a direct impact on our company’s success. While I didn’t specifically target startups in my initial job search after graduation, I am so happy with where I ended up. I interned for bigger companies before coming to Fuqua. It wasn’t until I joined a startup that I realized that I prefer to work in a more tight-knit environment.

In a recent conversation with Fuqua’s Admissions team, I spoke more about my role as a data analyst, the lessons I learned on the job versus in the classroom, and what I hope is in store for my future. You can watch that interview here: