Shi Hongyue MSDABC '21
Hometown: Shenzhen, China
Graduate Program: NYU Shanghai-NYU Stern MS in Data Analytics and Business Computing
Undergraduate Major: French Language and Literature, minor in Finance
Graduation Destination: Trip.com
Shi Hongyue MS ’21 is happy to get her spark back after losing it for a long time. Now she can immerse herself daily in the world of numbers and diagrams, mining for hidden connections between different sets of data.
Shi credits this to the NYU Shanghai-NYU Stern MS in Data Analytics and Business Computing, a program that fundamentally changed how she thinks, and reshaped her relationship with an increasingly data-driven world.
“At the beginning, pursuing a master’s degree in data analytics was more like a passive decision to adapt to the job market,” says Shi. “I didn’t expect it would bring me such intellectual reward.”
According to Shi, Professor Ming Liao’s course, Statistics and Data Analysis, made her realize that data analytics is more than a tedious process of dealing with formulas, programming, and measurements, but demands a lot of critical insights and divergent thinking.
Shi remembered Liao once showed the class a diagram listing the number of hospital acquired infections (HAI) among five different hospitals. Upon first glance, Hospital B performed worst in HAI control. However, Shi found herself revising this initial deduction after another set of data was introduced: Hospital B had the highest admission number, thus its infection rate was actually quite low. If the final goal is to figure out which hospital from the group is worst equipped to prevent HAI, more factors needed to be considered, such as whether some hospitals are specialized in infectious diseases, says Shi.
“My takeaway is that data will lie if we miss the whole picture,” says Shi. “It’s quite a philosophical thing for me.”
Shi also appreciated how Professor Grace Haaf distilled her real-world business experience into the curriculum design of Marketing Analytics.
“It’s not enough to only have intuitions for numbers,” says Shi. “Marketing Analytics made me aware that commercial sensibility is an essential quality for a data analyst.”
The road back to finding data analysis as her passion has been long and winding. In high school, Shi dreamed of being a geographer. As a youngster, Shi pored over maps and graphs, deriving endless joy from the exercise of drawing conclusions from elegant visual representations of information.
However, an ignorance of one quirk in college admissions disrupted the pursuit of her dream: while geography belongs to arts in high school, geography departments in China’s colleges only enroll science students. Shi mistakenly chose arts as her focus in the second year of high school.
During her college years, Shi took all sorts of courses open for arts students, only to find them taking her further away from the analytical fun and excitement that geography used to bring.
Without a clear clue of what she was going to do, Shi entered an insurance company after graduation. There, things began to turn around for her. When Shi helped the marketing department with surveys and customer research, the process of teasing out information and coming to certain conclusions reminded of her early days as a budding geographer studying meteorological charts and ocean current diagrams. She found herself unexpectedly good at Excel and generating data reports. This inspired her to apply for a master’s degree program in data analysis.
After taking courses in the MSDABC program, Shi soon put the critical thinking she gained through her academic training into relevant internship practices. When analyzing product data and building optimized models for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British multinational pharmaceutical company, Shi found herself starting to think beyond the role of an intern.
“Before, if I got a set of data from my manager, I could turn it into a report immediately,” says Shi. “But now I have learned to question the logic behind the data acquisition. How was the data obtained? What has been missing？”
The more time Shi spends with different companies’ databases, the more hungry she feels for what has been left out by those internal databases. She is eager to get into the realm of big data.
NYU Shanghai and Stern’s program has enhanced Shi’s skill in programming, which is a crucial prerequisite to become a big data analyst. In her internship at GSK, Shi is proud that her skillful application of Python in the initial data acquisition and the final data analysis has been highly appreciated by her team members.
After graduation, Shi will work for Trip.com as a data analyst.
“I am open to working for any kind of platform,”says Shi. “All I want is to get access to as much raw data as possible.”