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John Callery, MSBA '14

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A marathoner and skier in his off-hours, John, the director of people analytics at AOL, brings that much energy and more to his intellectual and professional pursuits. After a career start in aerospace engineering, including a stint at NASA’s Langley Research Center and eight years as a consultant for PTC, a manufacturing solutions firm, he jumped into data analytics with both feet. He explains, “I found that I missed my roots in using science and mathematics to solve difficult problems. An advanced degree seemed the logical way to make the next step, as the world of ‘big data’ had changed a lot of things during my years in business.”

Before finding the NYU Stern MSBA program, John rejected everything from graduate school in applied statistics and economics to MBA programs with concentrations in technical and analytical subjects. “Honestly, I had gotten to the point that I didn't believe a program like this existed,” he says. “It appeared to take an exciting approach to combining the best of a program rooted in science and one rooted in solving real-world problems.”

The payoff began even before he even met his cohort. “I started using what I learned from the pre-module reading in my day job before I ever sat in a classroom at NYU,” John recalls.  “The MSBA curriculum kept me on the leading edge of conversations about technology, strategy, and analytical approaches to this new world.”

An experience in the program’s first weeks proved life-changing. A classmate proposed a capstone project in HR analytics, and while John joined a different project, he says he couldn’t get the idea out of his head, and began preparing for a new career.

While the program introduced him to the topic of HR analytics and helped him hone his skills to be competitive for a job in the field, the ROI was far greater than that. “When I found a job that felt like it was a perfect fit,” he recounts, “it turned out that one of my MSBA classmates was an employee at AOL and passed along my resume to the hiring manager. I have no doubt that I wouldn't be in the career that I'm in today if it wasn't for NYU Stern. The education took my knowledge to new levels, but my friends, teachers, and colleagues from the program, with whom I’m still in touch, make me a better leader, scientist, and advocate for data-driven decision making than I would ever be alone.

“I use what I learned at Stern every day, and I wouldn't be successful without it. Whether it's presenting data to the CEO and CFO, applying data mining techniques and building complex models to predict successful hires and prevent attrition, or working on data visualizations that tell stories in a better way, the skills I learned in the MSBA program are behind everything that I do.”

Update: Please note that John is now the Global Head of Workforce Strategy at BNY Mellon.