7 minute read
ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) alumnus Jason Weng is currently the Growth Data Analytics Marketing Manager at LinkedIn in San Francisco, United States (US). Since obtaining his Bachelor degree in Actuarial Studies and Finance at The Australian National University (ANU) in 2012, he has also worked with other leading companies, including Google, Macquarie Group and Quantium.
In this interview, Jason shares how predicting the National Basketball Association (NBA) results on Excel worksheets in his free time helped him discover his passion for data analytics. He also discusses having a customer-first mentality and how his CBE degree aided him in securing roles with prestigious organisations.
Q. Can you tell us about your career path and what steered you to the role you're in today?
My career path to data science and analytics was not particularly clear after graduating from ANU. I started out as a management consultant. However, the projects that I was assigned weren’t the type of work that motivated me. I’ve always been an avid basketball fan, in particular the NBA competition in the US. During my free time, I started building simple linear regression models to predict the outcome of NBA games in Microsoft Excel. As I started collecting more data from historical seasons, the file grew to the point where it was no longer suitable for Excel. From then onwards, my passion for NBA and data spurred me to start working with data on a large scale, so I taught myself how to focus on data-driven decision making. The experience and knowledge that I gained from this experience helped me secure roles in the data-science and analytics domain. The accumulation of various events and interactions has led me to where I am today.
Q. You’ve worked at leading companies like LinkedIn, Google, Macquarie Group and Quantium. What professional development opportunities do these organisations offer and how have you made the most of them?
All these companies offered unique experiences as they are all market leaders, in most aspects. Hence, the type of work I found myself doing was both mentally stimulating and challenging. Being around successful peers has motivated me to continuously learn and improve. There were plenty of development opportunities at each of these companies, some of which are attributed to the positions I held there. However, one consistent theme that I discovered was that in order to do well, you really need to understand how your role adds value to the team and the wider organisation, as well as having a customer-first-mentality. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
The ANU brand and a double degree in Actuarial Studies and Finance on my resume helped me stand out from the crowd.
Q. Many businesses are suffering downturns as a result of COVID-19. What can small to medium-sized enterprises do in the area of data that will help them with future marketing and business recovery programs?
COVID-19 has caused a tremendous amount of disruption to the economy and people’s wellbeing globally. LinkedIn for one, and likely most other businesses, currently are likely still in the process of understanding the impact it has had on their business, and the need for their product and services in a post-pandemic world.
On the topic of data, it is a precious commodity in today’s world – the ability to collect a mass amount of data is not an easy feat, especially for any small or medium-sized businesses (SMB).
For any businesses looking to rely on data for strategic decision-making, it is vital they have a clear understanding of their data-collection process. Data interpretation is key. In regard to customer-facing activities, marketing is a great way to test any interesting new trends SMBs notice in their business and their competitors.
Q. How did your degree at CBE prepare you for your career?
I believe having the ANU brand and a double degree in Actuarial Studies and Finance on my resume helped me stand out from the crowd, and secure jobs at reputable companies early in my career. The actuarial program at CBE has equipped me with the foundational statistical knowledge to analyse challenging problems that I have been solving in my current and past roles, such as A/B testing and multilinear regression amongst others.
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