June 30, 2023
Ben Kusswurm is a student in the MS in Applied Data Science's online program. He is from Shaumburg, Illinois, but currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
What were you doing before you started the program?
I was a Product Lead for the Revenue Strategy group for Google.
What were the top factors that went into your decision to choose the MS in Applied Data Science Program at UChicago?
The top factors that drove me to attend the program were the flexibility and curriculum that is taught by a world renowned faculty. As the program is online, I can transition from the workplace to the classroom seamlessly. The faculty has a plethora of knowledge, and applies the curriculum to real world applications backed up by experience.
What is one of your favorite aspects of being a student at UChicago?
My favorite aspect about being a student at UChicago is the community that my cohort has developed throughout the duration of the program. Even though the program is online, I fostered relationships and made friends that I will keep in contact with for the rest of my life.
In your view, how will the MS in Applied Data Science degree advance your career in data science?
The MS in Applied Data Science degree has advanced my career in data science by helping me obtain interviews, and subsequently a new career in the field. I highly recommend this program for those trying to break into the space.
What is your current job (only if applicable)?
I am currently a Data Scientist for the YouTube Strategy and Operations group.
What has been your favorite class you have taken at UChicago so far and why?
My favorite class has been Machine Learning & Predictive Analytics. It is my favorite class because it teaches the foundations of models that we all use in our day-to-day lives. It also helps that the Program Director, Dr. Arnab Bose, who has a career that one can only hope to mimic, teaches the class while highlighting the practical applications of the lessons learned.
What advice would you give to prospective students who are seeking a master’s degree in data science online?
My advice to prospective students would be that you get what you put into the program. There are as many opportunities as you have time for, so try to expand your knowledge as much as you can. The program can also work for those that have other time commitments, so try to find the balance that works for you.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the program?
I frequently enjoy the Southern California weather. I like to surf, scuba, and play golf at a mediocre level.
What excites you right now about the field of data science?
I believe that the most exciting thing right now in data science is how large language models have introduced foundational aspects of data science to the general public. It will be interesting to see how our society will change with an amount of knowledge at our fingertips that we have never seen before.
If you have attended an Immersion Weekend, what was one of your main takeaways or things you enjoyed about the event?
The thing I most enjoyed about the Immersion Weekend was that it provided the opportunity to meet all of my classmates in person. It was amazing to see a dispersed group of people come together in real life and act as though the distance is irrelevant to the friendships that we have all formed.