As a financial analyst at a $2 billion travel company navigating a global health crisis, Emma Tremblay saw one particular aspect of the data analytics master’s degree program at Stonehill College that helped make it her dream destination: an immediate return on investment.

Within weeks of starting the 12-month program, the Holbrook, Massachusetts, resident was developing a new data toolkit and incorporating what she was learning into her position at TripAdvisor, based in Needham, Massachusetts.

For her final project, she analyzed the relationship between the pandemic’s trajectory and vaccination rates. She then applied her understanding of that relationship to a project focused on the travel industry’s post-COVID-19 recovery.

“It was a ton of work and very challenging, but getting my master’s and SAS certifications in only a year made joining this program a worthwhile decision,” said Tremblay, who graduated last August.

For James Kenney ’10 M’21 the return on investment was a significant salary increase shortly after graduating.

“I received a promotion at Santander Bank that came with a 33% raise,” said Kenney, who also studied at Stonehill as an undergraduate, receiving degrees in international business and political science. “My [company’s] executive leadership now turns to me to advise and execute on a number of data analytics-related items. I am forever grateful for the patient and personal hands-on instruction from my professors.”

During her time in the program, Emma Tremblay, financial analyst at TripAdvisor, completed a project focused on the travel industry’s post-COVID-19 recovery.

A Degree With Built-In SAS Certifications

Stonehill’s Data Analytics Master of Professional Studies (MPS) Program teaches students to analyze data and extract information from data sets to complete a range of operations. Graduates walk away with not only a degree in a fast-growing field but also a SAS Professional Certification and a Tier 3 SAS Academic Specialization. These credentials certify their expertise in the use of programs created by SAS, the world-renowned analytics software company.

“SAS has three different tiers of academic specialization. We are one of a small handful of schools that offer Tier 3 at the master’s level,” said Professor Michael Salé, director of Stonehill’s data analytics master’s program.

For students considering a data analytics graduate program, the value added by SAS credentials is a game-changer.

Matthew Ceh Castillo ’18 M’21, a marketing specialist at Vector Informatik, says the proficiency he gained in writing SAS code makes it easier to learn other programming languages.

Matthew Ceh Castillo ’18 M’21 is a marketing specialist at software company Vector Informatik. The Woonsocket, Rhode Island, resident, who majored in marketing as a Stonehill undergraduate, said the SAS certification he received during his time in the Data Analytics Master’s Program serves him well in his current role, which involves analyzing the effectiveness of lead-development strategies.

“When you learn one coding language to a decent degree, it is easier to learn others,” he said. “Since I have a proficiency in writing SAS code now, it’s become easier for me to learn Python and other languages.”

A Program Created To Accommodate Working Professionals

The MPS program is accelerated, taking place over 12 months. It features a blend of online courses and in-person courses held on weekends, making it easier for working professionals to fit it into their busy lives.

While designing this program, Salé knew that he wanted not only to equip his students with the knowledge and skills they desired but also to help them network and become part of a supportive community.

So, he built meals into his budget.

“I wanted the cohort to have Friday night dinner around a table like a family,” he said. “Some students are already doing data analytics professionally, and they help the newbies look at job opportunities. They suggest their peers learn certain skills that they were required to learn for their own jobs. Building community is very valuable for those networking and mentoring purposes.”

Around meals during the on-campus portion of their program and during classes, students are able to share ideas, gain insights and build professional relationship.

Cape Cod native Justin Scheets ’03 M’21, who studied business as an undergraduate at Stonehill, proved to be an invaluable resource for classmates without as much career experience under their belt. Scheets juggled his coursework with his responsibilities at health care technology company athenahealth, where he currently serves as a lead product analytics manager.

“I have been working in this field for about 12 years, but all of my skills are self-taught,” he said. “I didn’t have any formal schooling in analytics. I wanted to fill that gap in my resume and personal experience so that I could say I have a formal education to back up the career I’ve chosen.”

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