Jason Moss, MSBA '19
As head of operations at Standard Bank, based in South Africa, Jason Moss was intrigued by the increasing role of data and analytics, and felt that data would become even more of a primary driving force in business decisions and strategy. However, he recognized that it was difficult for him to identify opportunities without enhancing his understanding of the ever-growing field. “Knowing that there was a fast-growing demand for analytics skills across the world, I anticipated that an MSBA would position me to solve critical business problems, using data, that few others would be able to solve,” he says.
Among the global programs he scouted, Jason says that Stern’s MSBA was the only one that met all of his requirements: “a track record of excellence in analytics, accomplished faculty, and a strong cohort immersive experience.” Stern also stood out during the application process, as he felt many universities treated international students differently, whereas the Stern admissions team treated him as equal to other applicants. “This speaks to NYU’s ability to attract a diverse group of high-quality students and, at the heart of it, Stern’s culture of inclusion.”
Stern’s inclusive culture with an emphasis on diversity was a highlight for Jason throughout the program, not just during the admissions process. “The value of a diverse cohort was immense. We had representation from every continent (except Antarctica) and listening to and learning from my classmates’ challenges and approach to solving these was educational,” he says. “I had extraordinarily social and clever classmates, and through this program I have made wonderful friends who I regularly keep in touch with and have become lifelong friends.”
Not only did Jason learn from his cohort’s diverse backgrounds and experience, but also the professors who he describes as “industry experts from different parts of the world and who shifted my thinking on what’s possible.”
Jason says he experienced many “aha” moments during the program, some of which translated directly into his work at Standard Bank. He explains: “Early in the program, during the pre-module, I was able to identify opportunities for automation using data science. I put together a business case and obtained funding before even travelling to my first in-class module. On arriving back to South Africa from New York, I kicked off my project, and led a team of data scientists to successfully implement my first project.”
The Capstone experience also supplemented the in-classroom learning with a real-world, hands-on education. Jason’s team built a recommendation engine for users to find a restaurant based on their personal preferences. “The capstone project was a useful learning experience in many ways,” he says. “It helped develop practical experience in understanding the effort involved in building an analytics process; it fostered appreciation for the impact of data quality on delivering a high-quality solution; and it taught us how much data science is a team sport.”
When reflecting on the value that Stern added to his professional growth and career, Jason notes that financially, he recovered the cost of the MSBA within six months of graduation and “multiple times” since then. He also saw career advancement as a direct result of his experience with Stern: When senior leadership learned that he was in the program, he was offered a data analytics role and received a promotion a month before he graduated. An added bonus: the new role was more fulfilling and gave Jason more time to spend with his family.
As for the future, Jason looks forward to utilizing his new skill sets in the dynamic and rapidly growing field of data analytics. “Data and analytics are exciting because the opportunities to create value are limitless. The ability to use big data tools to automate and scale while using data science for the automation of decision making creates exponential potential for anyone with good data and the right problem to solve,” he says. “I will continue working on data analytics problems while integrating digital experiences. Through Stern, I will take advantage of the executive programs and my network to set myself up for success.”