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Why I Know Data & Analytics Is the Field for Me

By Rona Shang

I’ve always been a really curious person. For as long as I can remember, the “why’s” and “how’s” of pretty much everything always popped up into my head. I’ve always loved solving problems, and although it’s sometimes a negative, I am a stubbornly tenacious worker.

In the beginning of my journey to finding this field of research & data analytics, I decided to pursue public relations as my major in Newhouse. I figured since I love to work with people, I’m great at communicating ideas and solutions, and I love finding ways to make things better, PR would be a perfect field for me. As I navigated through freshman and sophomore year however, I got a bit lost. I liked the bigger ideas of what I was learning, but I didn’t find myself loving the work, nor was I really satisfied with it either.

Then I accidentally took an intro-level policy studies class that led me to becoming a TA, declaring a second major, and finding the field I am in now. While the public relations major focuses on building strong writing, presentation, and communication skills, the policy studies major focuses on building skills in problem-solving, research, information collection, quantitative analysis, and collaborative working. Having both majors really allowed me to get both right- and left-brain training, and I was finally satisfied with the direction I was headed in because the majors complemented each other so well.

Having both a creative and analytical side helped me land my first summer internship on the strategy, research, and planning team at a media agency in NYC. There, I was exposed to not only the day-to-day work within an agency, but also to a plethora of guest speakers and field trips to companies such as Facebook, Google, Spotify, and more. The thing that would interest me most whenever I heard it mentioned? Data. I was hooked on how powerful it was in making informed decisions and predictions, and I was fascinated by the sheer amount of data out there. I quickly went back to my manager and let her know about my newfound interest, and she responded joyfully while handing me a Nielsen Total Audience Report. I had no idea what Nielsen even was before that point, but as I read the report, all I kept thinking to myself was how cool it would be to be the person behind these findings – and so I set my goal, and I’m happy to say that a semester later, I’m an intern at Nielsen and it’s everything I hoped for and more.

Being on the CPG Ad Solutions team means I’m at an intersection between the media/ad world and analytics. I’m lucky enough to be able to work across a variety of Fortune 500 clients and mine data from such an extensive database. I get to turn real-time, real-world ad performance insights into sleek, powerful, and clear final deliverables for clients, and, above all, I get to remain endlessly curious, stubbornly tenacious, and work with a brilliant team that has been nothing but helpful and welcoming to me. I obviously don’t know exactly what the future holds, but thanks to both Newhouse and Maxwell, previous internships and Nielsen, I’ve learned that I’m exactly where I want to be right now.

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