From gym manager to business analyst, Annie Beyer’s journey to MSBA

Annie Beyer, class of 2021, enrolled in the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program so she could help businesses feel confident about their data decision. She spent five years in the health and wellness industry, even receiving a Health Coach certification, before joining MSBA in 2020. Now, she is a business intelligence analyst at the Port of Seattle, a job she received after completing an internship of the same title.

Headshot of Annie Beyer

Annie Beyer, MSBA ’21, took many twists and turns before the MSBA program.

Annie Beyer’s path to the MSBA program had many “twists, turns, and fun surprises.” 

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public health, became a part-time physical therapy aide, and finally a manager at a martial arts gym before joining the MSBA program in 2020. 

Despite switching multiple roles in less than five years, Annie found her experiences, although unrelated to business analytics, exposed her to the local, fast-paced growth of small businesses.

As a manager at a small gym, Annie wore many hats. On the business side, she handled the customer service. On the athletic side, she taught Crossfit and developed a self-defense class for women. While Annie was adept at managing the people side of the business, she noticed something was missing.

“Without data analytics, it’s hard for small businesses to succeed,” Annie said. 

Helping businesses find success was what led Annie to pursue a graduate degree in business analytics. When she worked for two small businesses, she discovered that making decisions based on guesswork wasn’t enough.

“I wanted to find better answers to questions like, ‘How can I increase memberships?’ ‘What kind of marketing should or should not be invested in?’” Annie said. “Business analytics could help me answer these questions.”

Telling stories with data

Before starting the program, Annie admitted that she was a bit nervous. She knew that coding was a big part of the coursework, and yet she didn’t have any coding experience. Luckily, she taught herself SQL, Python, and R – the three coding languages taught in MSBA – to give herself a head start.

“I was actually the one on my team that had the most experience with coding,” she said. “I felt fully equipped to handle the classes pretty well.”

Soon later, Annie realized that coding datasets is just the first step in an analytics career. It was actually the communication skills – the ability to share your “data story” with stakeholders – that differentiate a good data analyst from a great one.

“You could be an amazing coder, programmer, or analyst, but if you lack communication skills, your career growth will be limited,” Annie said.

Through the rigorous teamwork activities in the MSBA program, Annie saw herself becoming a better storyteller. She was quick to mention this when she networked with a business director, who was impressed with her ability to articulate data solutions to her teammates.

“I showed him that I wasn’t just good at the technical stuff but also had an eye for storytelling and communication,” she said.

Coincidentally, that director was hiring an analyst intern. Within weeks, Annie was offered the position. Within months, she transitioned to a full-time role. Annie credits the MSBA program for giving her the business acumen to “speak the language.” 

Empowering employees through data 

After completing her six-month internship at the Port of Seattle, Annie transitioned to a full-time position as a business intelligence analyst. She is now helping employees from various departments – aviation, maritime environment, and finances, to name a few – implement data analytics in their jobs. Among her co-workers, she has an unofficial job title as the “data doctor,” a person who diagnoses data problems in a project and finds the right strategy to address them.

Annie Beyer on a kayak

Among her co-workers, Annie has an unofficial job title as the “data doctor.”

Additionally, Annie also leads an educational initiative to increase data literacy for employees. Partnering with the strategic initiatives department, she hosts seminars and community workshops that teach data best practices. 

While she expects more surprises in the next step of her career, one thing is for sure: Annie loves her job. “I’m grateful to be part of a value-driven organization with a focus on serving our community,” she said. 

Interested in a career like Annie’s? Learn more about the MSBA program.

 

Written by Anh Nguyen
Writer & Content Strategist
[email protected]