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Andrea Garrido, MSBA '21

Portrait of MSBA Alumna Andrea Garrido

Since her childhood, Andrea Garrido’s mother instilled in her a strong sense of curiosity and determination to pursue her goals. This early encouragement fostered her love of learning and a drive to work hard to fulfill her goal of having a career in the financial services industry—specifically working for the Federal Reserve Bank. Ten years ago, she moved to New York City to realize that goal with a position in the Data and Statistics department at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Andrea recalled working alongside highly-educated professionals—many of her colleagues held master’s degrees or PhDs—which motivated Andrea to pursue her own path in higher education. “This environment fueled my desire to excel and deepened my passion for data and process enhancement,” Andrea says.  “I realized I needed a program that offered hands-on experience and practical skills for making data-driven business decisions. I chose the NYU Stern MSBA for its perfect blend of technical and business courses, taught by world-class professors renowned in their fields. The challenge of completing a rigorous program at a top business school within a year was a powerful motivator, aligning with my determination and passion for continuous learning.”

By the end of the program, Andrea had become proficient in Python and developed strong troubleshooting skills, which she found crucial for understanding and resolving coding errors. She says she saw an immediate impact on how she approached her work, and now leads more technical projects and improves data quality practices within her organization. “I became less dependent on technical support for troubleshooting my code, and I was able to effectively translate business requirements into technical solutions,” she says. “The coursework also enabled me to create more insightful visualizations, aiding decision-making processes. Most importantly, I gained confidence in making business decisions and proposing data-driven solutions and process automations to stakeholders.”

What excites Andrea about data analytics is the process of piecing together a puzzle, where each data point represents a piece that, when correctly combined, reveals valuable insights. “The challenge of building models to extract meaningful information from complex datasets is intellectually stimulating and rewarding,” she says and describes an a-ha moment she had in the program: realizing the power to solve complex data problems with just a few lines of code. “It was fascinating to learn about the various options available and how to leverage them effectively. I also noticed a marked improvement in my problem-solving skills as I progressed through the program,” she says. “Learning about different types of models and their applications helped me approach solutions more systematically. I began to understand the importance of thorough data observations and how they contribute to crafting effective solutions.”

Andrea notes that the field is evolving rapidly, driven by advancements in artificial intelligence and the increasing interconnectedness across industries and beyond geographic borders. “This growth brings significant challenges, particularly regarding ethical considerations and privacy concerns. I believe that addressing these issues will be crucial, and the field will need more skilled professionals to help navigate and shape these paths,” she says. “Stern’s comprehensive curriculum, which blends technical skills with business applications, equipped me with the knowledge and tools necessary to thrive in this dynamic and evolving field."

Andrea says that completing her degree with Stern has proven to be one of the best decisions of her career. “The program has opened numerous doors and significantly enhanced my professional trajectory,” she explains. “It has allowed me to progress more rapidly than anticipated, providing the skills and knowledge necessary to take on more challenging roles and responsibilities. The credential from a prestigious institution like Stern has expanded my professional network, leading to new connections and job prospects. The emphasis on technical skills, problem-solving, and data-driven decision-making has directly translated into improved performance in my current role.”

When reflecting on advice for prospective students, Andrea says she highly recommends the program, as it equips students with not only technical skills, knowledge, and network necessary for career advancement, it also emphasizes critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills.  “Stern's MSBA program has been one of the most rewarding experiences for both my personal growth and career advancement. The program offers a rigorous curriculum that blends technical expertise with practical business applications, preparing you to tackle complex data challenges. The Capstone project provides invaluable hands-on experience, and the strong industry connections and networking opportunities at Stern open doors to a wide range of career prospects,” she says.

As for the future, Andrea will continue to channel the ambition and drive instilled in her from a young age by her mother. In the short term, she hopes to further develop her expertise in data analytics and advance to more senior roles where she can contribute to strategic decision-making processes within organization.  In the long-term, she is working toward the success of Chixa, her beverage business, which has ignited a passion for entrepreneurship.

“NYU Stern's MSBA program has already started to support these goals by providing opportunities to connect with other entrepreneur founders and leveraging the school's extensive network,” she says. “These connections are invaluable as I work towards establishing and growing my business. I anticipate that NYU Stern will continue to help me achieve these goals by providing me with advanced skills in data analytics, networking opportunities, and the business acumen necessary to succeed in both corporate and entrepreneurial endeavors.”