Mendoza School of Business

Student Perspective: Rafael Galvao Guerra

Using his liberal arts degree to advance in business analytics.

The Notre Dame MSBA program has allowed me to enter the exciting conversation of how technology analytics is shaping the world around us, in a way that not only accepts, but welcomes the point of view of a former liberal arts major. Moreover, it is providing me the technical skills in statistical programming, data management, and data communication in a way that expands my skillset and enables me to tackle problems in a different way.

As an undergraduate in Notre Dame, I was a double major in economics and psychology. I was heavily involved in psychological research, and wrote a senior thesis on Ego Splitting and Dysfunctional Individuation – a paper that eventually got me a poster presentation and an academic publication. On the other hand, I was just as passionate about my studies of Economics. By the end of my undergraduate years, I had read Smith, Marx, Keynes, and Piketty, and was naïve enough to think I understood them. I could run regressions, and explain the General Linear Model. Yet, during my graduation ceremony, I distinctly remember thinking to myself ‘What now? How do I put those things together?’

During my job search following graduation, it was evident to me that employers were more interested in my background in economics. My first job interviews were all about what I’d learned in those classes. And my first job as a financial analyst was all about market predictions, and trend analyses. It left me wanting to use more psychology in my day to day work, as I knew fully well how much value it could bring to the discussion, but at the time, I couldn’t quite prove it. I didn’t have the arguments, or the vocabulary to do so.

The MSBA program only started this month, but it has already introduced me to concepts and arguments that leave no doubt how much the social sciences can contribute to the world of business. During Professor Kevin Hartman’s Introduction to Business Analytics class, I was exposed to the precise and clever ways that psychology is used in the world of advertising. In Professor Corey Angst’s class, I was shown how Gestalt Psychology stands as the building base for the fundamentals of data visualization. Both in my essays and assignments, I am being challenged to bring to class my knowledge of both subjects, and in fact, rewarded for doing so. I am excited to learn the other ways in which this productive intersection will contribute to the classroom, and the field of analytics, at large.