Natalee Morris, MQE Alumni 2021

Prior to completing the MQE degree, Natalee Morris received her undergradfuate degree in Applied Science, Mathematics and Economics at the University of Pittsburgh and worked as an account analyst at BNY Mellon. She is currently an Assistant Data Scientist at Moody's Analytics. 

Q: How has the MQE Program provided you with the skills needed to succeed in your current position as a Data Scientist at Moody's Analytics? 

A: The MQE program gave me the necessary tools to learn and work in the data science field.  More importantly the program provided me with the mindset and critical thinking skills to embrace how unpredictable working in this field can be.    

Q: What did you love learning about the most during your time in the MQE program? 

A: I enjoyed Economic Inference from Data and Big Data and Forecasting the most out of all my classes.  Economic Inference introduced me to different kinds of modeling used in the field and the proper times to use those models when addressing a problem.  Forecasting introduced me to Machine Learning which I have found to be interesting and innovative and worth pursuing in the future at Moody's.  Both classes gave me a crash course in R or Python which are such important skills to carry with you into the field. I found the learn on your feet environment that these classes have was frustrating but turned out to be very beneficial to my life in the workforce.

Q: How did you implement skills from the MQE Program into your US Affordable Housing Shorting Capstone? 

A: The most valuable thing I learned from my Capstone is getting that from problem to solution is not a linear process.  There were many times my group and I had valid ideas and strategies that did not pan out and so we had to go back to the drawing board and start over.  There were weeks where it felt like barely anything was getting done and then there were weeks where a lot got done only to have the work be insufficient towards achieving our goals. Despite being frustrating, every bump in the road was a great learning experience that helped my team and I become better critical thinkers and data scientist.

Q: How did the MQE program help prepare you for real-world job/career experience? 

A: The most relevant tool I got from the program was how to learn on fly.  We all want to move onto jobs where there will be a nice grace period of training and easing into the work.  For some people that may happen but for others it may not.  Day three of my new position I was given a project to work on and really had no idea what to do or how to do it. I had no teammates, only advisors who had their own work to get back to.  Thankfully I had my MQE experience to lean on. After spending a year in the MQE program, facing the uncertainty or my job did not feel so daunting.  I knew that with enough time and effort I would reach a solution in the same way I finished certain assignments for class.