Rachael Agnello is a Data Analyst at Sheetz, a business with which she became familiar through the MQE program’s capstone project course. She is based in the Pittsburgh office, which has a focus on technology and innovation. She graduated from the MQE program in 2022. Prior to MQE, she double-majored in Economics and Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University as a University Scholar. After graduation, she worked for a few years in the German-American nonprofit sector in New York City where she indulged her interest in the European-American relationship, calling upon language skills she built during a State Department fellowship abroad program. Connect with Rachael on LinkedIn.
Q: How did the MQE program help prepare you for real-world job/career experience? How has the MQE Program provided you with the skills needed to succeed in your current position as a Data Analyst at Sheetz?
A: I have one obvious reason to thank MQE – I was hired by the business I worked with during the program’s capstone project! Beyond that serendipitous opportunity, I was very happy with the quality of the instruction. I went from a person with no coding skills whatsoever to a person who can confidently and competently analyze data and communicate my conclusions. That’s down to the well-constructed assignments my professors created. As an economics graduate, I would be remiss not to mention the costs – time costs, tuition costs, and opportunity costs. I feel the MQE program was a great value – a worthy way to spend nine months of my life, the cost of tuition, and nine months away from working.
Q: What did you love learning about the most during your time in the MQE program?
A: I most enjoyed the data-focused classes where nearly every assignment involved working with real-world data. I’ve come to realize that those assignments are very similar to the kinds of tasks I am assigned in the workplace. I’d also like to make note of Professor Nixon’s excellent communications class, which I credit with helping me land a few job offers. I recommend that all incoming MQE students give special attention to Professor Nixon’s assignments, which build skills critical to both the job hunt and workplace success.
Q: What skills did you gain from the MQE Program?
A: The MQE program gave me an excellent skill set. I have used something from almost every MQE course in the four months since I’ve started my job. The most valuable aspect of the program was the opportunity to complete assignments that were structured as projects. The assignments gave me the experience of working through a data problem from start (data cleaning) to finish (communicating analyses). They also gave me great examples to discuss during job interviews.