Yacob Chaly enrolled in an MSc in Business Analytics before landing an internship and successfully turning it into a full-time role. Find out how
Hailing from Kerala, South India, with a keen interest in technology, Yacob directed his bachelor’s degree toward the tech field and carved out a career in data and analytics consulting at EY after graduation.
Although he had developed a passion for data analytics over five years, he decided that it was necessary to expand his scope and learn how to apply his skills towards business decisions.
“I realised that in order to grow in my career and become a subject matter leader in data analytics, I needed a bigger picture of the data ecosystem,” he says.
Yacob decided to pursue a Master’s in Business Analytics to seize the opportunity to boost his career.
Why the NBS MSc in Business Analytics?
When deciding where to study his MSc, Yacob was drawn to Singapore as a key business hub within Asia, and a country that was not too far from home.
“Singapore is a regional hub and so you have the brightest minds in APAC over here,” he explains.
Searching for a suitable degree, he discovered the MSc in Business Analytics at Nanyang Business School, a program that blended technical learning in areas such as advanced programming and machine learning, with broader business modules.
Yacob was intrigued by the program’s diverse practical opportunities, which included participating in data-led business simulators and projects, and embarking on an internship.
He successfully applied for the program, and was impressed by this emphasis on applied learning right from the beginning of the course.
“I liked the fact that most of the modules had an individual or group project, and these were based on real-life data,” he says. “The course was focused more on the application of concepts.
“Professors were also very helpful, they would drive interactions and encourage you to ask questions,” he adds.
With a broad curriculum ranging from analytics strategy to data visualization and cyber security, the NBS MSc in Business Analytics helped Yacob obtain his goal of expanding his data expertise.
“It helped me grow horizontally and equipped me with concepts of data science and business, because I already knew the database side of things.”
How can business school develop your experience?
Beyond his modular learning, Yacob’s journey through the NBS MSc in Business Analytics involved a range of eye-opening experiences that helped enhance his development.
Having left India to live and study in a new country, the immersion in a new culture required some adjustment during the early stages of the year-long program.
“Considering the fact that I’d never moved out of Kerala, it actually did open my eyes,” he says. “In the first few weeks, I realized that people here have dinner at 6pm, and back home we have dinner at 8pm—it’s all kind of a cultural shock.”
Being part of a cohort composed of 90% international students and a near 50% gender split, the diverse classroom meant Yacob could enhance his cultural understanding while working closely alongside his fellow students.
“When you’re working in groups and you are on campus, you meet a lot of people from across the world, so it helps you to network,” he says. “You also learn about different cultures because they become your friends, so you learn more about them. It’s a wonderful learning experience.”
Besides networking with his peers, Yacob also benefitted from the designated sessions organized by the Graduate Studies Career Development Office (GSCDO) throughout th year, allowing him to network with recruiters.
The GSCDO also helped connect Yacob and his fellow students with potential employers to secure vital internship and job opportunities that would pave the way for their careers after graduation.
How can an internship offer your career a boost?
While applying for internships, the GSCDO connected Yacob with a data intern opportunity at Mindshare, a global media agency, and provided additional support during the interview process, ultimately helping him secure the role.
A firm largely focused on media and marketing, Yacob was initially daunted by the challenge of entering a new sector. However, the internship provided him with a platform to gain experience in a different industry while also employing his holistic data skillset.
“When I started off the internship, I had basically zero knowledge about marketing. So this internship actually helped me slightly bridge that gap,” he explains. “You are an employee, but you’re actually a student as well.”
Impressing his superiors over a five-month period, Yacob was offered the chance to take on a full-time role, which he began shortly after completing his degree.
Today, he is working as a data and analytics manager, employing a broad range of skills including building dashboards, designing data pipelines, and coding with Python. His primary focus is leveraging data knowledge and skills to benefit the business.
“It’s a mixture of what I used to do before, and what I learned during the program,” he explains.
Reflecting on his journey, Yacob feels that his commitment to continuous learning has helped boost his career and allowed him to have a greater impact at work. He encourages others to embrace the same mindset in their own careers.
“The main use of data analytics is to solve a business problem, and the tools that we use are just learned so that we can achieve that,” he explains. “Technology is an evolving space, so you should always have that curiosity to keep learning, because the tool that you use today may not be valid tomorrow.”