Part of why I love my job at Bryant University and the Hassenfeld Institute is the opportunity to meet and work with the talented and diverse students of this campus and connect them to learning and development related to the public sector. When I ask students what they are interested in doing post-graduation, the “I’m an ideas person” phrase is uttered and it takes all my energy not to shout in warning.
THIS TYPE OF JOB DOES NOT EXIST! Opportunities in public offices, campaigns, nonprofits, graduate school, and even retail customer service had required employees to create, understand, and analyze data in order to advance.
Working with math, data, surveys, and polls can be overwhelming, but I urge you, especially in the Liberal Sciences, to take your time and invest in improving your analytical skills. Investing your credits by concentrating in applied analytics, statistics, and other technical skills will not only better equip you for your position, but will give you an edge in the application process.
From the outside, observing nonprofits, campaigns, government, and other positions, it is easy to see that their outward products have to do with messaging and simple data to support it. However, that is only the outside layer that is carefully crafted for outside audiences to understand. What is missed is how they use numbers to determine their mission, their products, funding, benchmarking, and many other essential activities. Once you leave the Bryant campus, you will be challenged to use data in just some of the following ways:
1. Develop benchmarks for your success.
2. Ask the right questions of proposals by coworkers, supervisors, and your staff.
3. Use research to support your ideas, and if that research leaves out an important factor or their methodology is flawed, you need to adjust your presentation with that information.
4. Make decisions with the best information you can collect.
5. Answer questions from those who will challenge your ideas and thinking.
6. Test theories and improve systems within your organization.
7. Be an informed voter and engaged citizen of your community.
Bryant University is the perfect environment for you to test your skills and grow as a person. I urge our Junior, Sophomore, and Freshmen students to embrace this challenge and improve your skills in data analysis, using the resources at Bryant to help you fulfill your goals. Employers do not want just an “ideas” person, they want the person who can come up with the idea and lead a team to accomplish it…that requires numbers.