A native Spaniard, Juan Carlos Juárez attended an international school and is fluent in both Spanish and English. His proficiency extends to programming languages as well: his knowledge of Python and R has enabled him to break into the cutting-edge world of data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. We caught up with Juan Carlos to find out about his experience at IE University, his career and his current projects.
As a Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics student, I’m passionate about leveraging the power of machine learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence to uncover hidden patterns and insights in data. My goal is to launch a career in this cutting-edge field, and I am always eager to stay on top of the latest trends and tools, continuously learning new technologies and methodologies to enhance my skills.
I’m currently working as a data science intern at an international management consultancy in Madrid. And I’m also excited to be joining the University of Michigan as an exchange student for the fall 2023 semester—another incredible opportunity which IE University has given me!
Why did you choose the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics program at IE University?
As with all students facing this challenge during high school, choosing what to study was not an easy task for me. I first realized that I wanted to study a bachelor’s degree related to data after I created an online store, “Underground Clothing”, during my first year of high school. I remember that I had a lot of metrics available— essentially a lot of data—but I wasn’t able to take advantage of it to improve my business. That’s when I became interested in how to make sense of all that data, and started to research different bachelor’s degrees that could help me. I finally decided on IE University, because out of all the universities I found in Europe offering similar degrees, IE University was the only one offering in-depth knowledge of data science and analysis, and was not just a business degree with one or two classes focused on data. On top of that, I had some international experiences during my school years and I wanted to choose a university that could provide me with this international environment. So I was very excited by the variety of languages, culture and people that form the IE University student community.
What skills do you consider are needed to succeed in your field?
To become a successful data scientist, I believe the main skill you need is an analytical mindset. This is because nowadays, there are tons of data everywhere, so to get insights and make sense out of it you need an analytical and critical mindset to discover those hidden patterns and insights. Then you can make the correct business decisions based on that analysis.
However, another crucial skill that is not usually mentioned when talking about science-based degrees such as the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics is communication skills. You may be the best data scientist in the world, but if you are not able to effectively communicate your findings and build a story out of the data, you have nothing.
Could you tell us about your current work at Neovantas?
I am currently working at Neovantas, an international management consultancy, as a data science intern, in the recently created Advanced Analytics department. My job involves taking part in several projects for big names in the Spanish telecommunications, finance and insurance sectors. My work is mostly focused on data analysis and model creation in topics such as churn prediction, sentiment analysis, employee performance and default risk.
Do you have any advice for IE University students and alumni who are looking to pursue an internship?
My best piece of advice for IE University students looking for an internship is to take advantage of every single opportunity you may have to secure an intern position. IE University offers programs such as the Young Corporate Program, in which companies come to IE University to select candidates during the first year of their degree. Thanks to this program, I am actually doing an internship at Neovantas after my third year of studies. So make sure to take advantage of such opportunities and during the interview process, make clear what differentiates you from other candidates and highlight any experience that could support your application.
IE Talent & Careers also offers a weekly newsletter with internship opportunities, so make sure to check them and apply to the ones you feel more motivated with. Lastly, another option would be to check the careers portal of the company you want to do an internship for, and look for intern positions or a general internship application. That’s how I got my first internship at Getir during my second year of studies.
How did your experience at IE University prepare you for your professional career?
One aspect of the IE University learning experience that has prepared me the most for my professional career is the importance given to group projects. This is because, for each subject, a large proportion of the grade corresponds to the group project, where we form teams to work towards a common goal. So all the abilities you learn from working in teams at IE University are really useful in professional life, where projects are also developed in groups.
From my point of view, developing leadership skills and being able to make the most of each of the team members’ abilities is key to success in your professional career at any company. Specifically, I feel that the IE University impact path was the main accelerator for enhancing these skills. Classes such as Entrepreneurship and the IE Challenge, where we had to work in multidisciplinary teams with people from different bachelor’s degrees and backgrounds, were perfect examples of what professional life looks like.
Tell us about the IE University alumni community and the impact they have had on your life and/or career.
During both of my internship experiences at Getir and Neovantas, I had the pleasure of meeting with IE University alumni. It was great because being part of the IE University community gives you something in common, from which you can build stronger friendships and professional relationships.
What is the competitive advantage that studying at IE University has given you?
Studying at IE University has provided me with a significant competitive advantage in several ways. Firstly, the emphasis on group projects and collaborative learning has honed my teamwork and communication skills. Through various projects and challenges, I have gained experience in effectively collaborating with diverse teams, which is a crucial skill in today’s globalized and interconnected professional landscape. Secondly, being exposed to different cultures, languages, and perspectives has broadened my horizons and enhanced my ability to collaborate and thrive in diverse settings. The global perspective gained through interactions with classmates from around the world has equipped me with the cross-cultural competence necessary to navigate today’s interconnected business landscape.
If someone were considering going to IE University, what would you tell them?
I would tell them to go ahead, especially if they are seeking to be involved in an international environment and gain exposure to a lot of different cultures and beliefs. Also, something that differentiates IE University from other universities is the teaching style of learning by doing. It’s not based purely on the traditional method of going to class to listen to a lecture and being graded just on a final exam, but rather on applying what we learn in class to real-life scenarios, through projects, challenges, competitions or small practical tasks during class.
An example of this could be last semester when I had the privilege of participating in the IE Challenge as an Innovation Consultant for BeeSage, a data-driven startup that operates at the intersection of agritech and climate tech. In this role, I was able to leverage my data expertise and collaborate with a diverse team of students from various bachelor’s programs to develop a solution for our client.