Although my experience before graduate school revolved around startups, I initially pursued going to law school. I was confident that I could be successful in law school and as a lawyer. My father was a prosecutor, and my family was kind of anticipating me to follow his path. While preparing to retake the entrance exam after failing the first time, the thought struck my mind: Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life? I decided that if I was going to do something, I wanted to do it because I like it and I enjoy it, not just because I may be good at it.

Pursuing a Business Analytics Degree

My search for academic and professional inspiration began, and soon after, I realized I truly enjoyed bridging the gap between the real world and business initiatives with data analysis. So, I abandoned my two years of preparation for law school and prepared for my study of data analysis in just three months. I did not have much time to research and prepare all the needed documents, but my will toward this new path was strong enough to overcome any obstacles. And thankfully, I got admitted to the MQM: Business Analytics program at Fuqua.

The MQM program prepared me both personally and professionally for my upcoming career path in the data analysis world. However, despite my preparation, taking my career first step wasn’t as smooth as I expected it to be. My job search was exhausting physically and mentally. After seven rounds of interviews, I was rejected from my top job prospect, almost breaking me.

But as the saying goes, the most important thing is an unbreakable heart, so I started preparing, networking, and applying again. Fortunately, my carefully prepared portfolio paid off. I was hired by Meta as a senior business intelligence engineer.

Changhyeon Yoo, an alumnus of the MQM: BA program, standing between two teammates in front of a monitor reading "Meta"
Me (in the middle) with some of my teammates at Meta, August 2023

Launching My Career in Tech

My initial team at Meta was the accounting risk and analytics team, which focused on discovering and visualizing the potential financial risks in various areas, such as tax, investment, currency, securities, etc. During my time on this team, I heavily cultivated my skills in Tableau and data visualization while also experiencing what it is like to work at one of the biggest tech companies in the U.S. I loved every interaction with my team members and could feel I was improving. But then, the layoff period came.

A company-wide layoff happened at Meta, leaving everyone, including me, extremely anxious. While I thankfully remained at Meta, our team was affected. I was moved to the infrastructure accounting team. Still full of doubts, anxious, and uncertain about my fate, I was honestly a bit afraid of this new change. I didn’t know then that this would ultimately change the trajectory of my career at the company.

During my time on the new team, my work boundary widened greatly, allowing me to both build on what I already knew and learn new skills. Previously, my work was highly centered on data visualization and Tableau. After my move, I started to be involved in data engineering and robotics automation along with data visualization. This opened up opportunities to learn new tools (such as Alteryx, Visual Studio Code, Presto SQL, and UiPath Automation.

The satisfaction that came from my growth was incomparable to any satisfaction I felt before. It gave me the confidence and belief that I could achieve anything in the U.S. if I tried my best, while not letting anything break my heart.