Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics student, Karl Asger Juhl, has a passion for data science and creating value through programming. He is currently working at PepsiCo in the Store DNA project team. We had the chance to chat with him about his IE University experience, his current role and his vision of the industry.
At IE University, I initially enrolled in the Bachelor in Behavior and Social Sciences program. But after having better connected with the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics classes, I changed my mind and my career path. Ultimately, I am a techie and enjoy the efficiency and ease of working on computers, so learning to create value using programming made sense. Thanks to my classes, I quickly understood that data science was really made up of abstract thinking, problem-solving and creativity, which fascinated me.
Tell us about your current job at PepsiCo.
I work as a data modeler/engineer within a large analytics project in PepsiCo Europe, where my team and I work together to implement data infrastructure for predictive models. This infrastructure is called Store DNA and pulls together all kinds of data from a variety of sources. Using this data we are able to support PepsiCo’s business units in countries across Europe by leveraging the valuable datasets for country-specific model training in order to predict things like the growth of a store, the best products to allocate in a given store, the optimal shelf location for products and more.
How did your experience at IE University prepare you for your professional career?
Speaking from my experience, the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics program at IE University gave me a solid foundation in all things data. This included a functional basis of Python for the purposes of preparing and analyzing data before using machine learning methods to extract insights. I especially valued the projects where we worked in collaboration with real companies—these differentiated themselves from the normal group project format and brought purpose to the work, as well as the excitement of getting more real experience in our field.
Overall, the topics I studied at IE University are almost all related to my current work in some way. The program sufficiently prepared me for my professional career, despite being the first year of the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics program—I’m happy about this and would be excited to see how much IE University´s analytics programs have evolved since attending my first classes at the school.
What competitive advantage did studying at IE University provide you?
Like any higher education institution, the network of your peers, faculty and the entire school are important for pursuing careers or entrepreneurship later on. IE University’s network is very valuable, and it helped me in my job search. I believe that studying at a university leads to much more than educational development but also personal development. After having finished my degree I can happily say that IE University’s pool of students is incredible and gives you plenty of potential for making a diverse group of friends and peers that you will keep for years.
What skills do you consider are needed to succeed in your field?
While technical skills are clearly required to succeed, I would also highlight the importance of soft skills. Using my current job as an example, I work in a development team which is constantly working in unison with other teams. If you have fluency in Python and Spark but don’t have an open and collaborative mindset and a positive attitude towards problem-solving, you aren’t going to succeed. While hard skills like coding can be attained over a couple of months with hard work, soft skills are much harder to develop and are much more important for making a real difference in your work.
Do you have any advice for IE University Students who are looking to pursue a career in your field?
I would recommend prospective students talk to professionals in the field to get an understanding of data analytics as a sector, how it is used in different industries and an outlook on the future. The program’s entire curriculum may look daunting, but reviewing your courses with someone knowledgeable would be really valuable to gain an understanding of the scope of your classes.
Data analytics is a growing field with big promises of value realization in the world, and I would definitely recommend the program to students who are interested.
If someone was considering the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics program, what would you tell them?
I would tell them to do their best to take it all in. You will be faced with challenging problems and concepts that you’ll be expected to understand and build on. Just know that you have plenty of time to learn everything well and you are much more capable than you think.