From Professional Hockey Referee to the Wide World of Analytics

Author: Ryan Millbern

Matt Prozaki’s path to the MSBA program at Notre Dame began on thick ice. Literally. 

Prozaki Matthew

From the ages of 18 to 30, Prozaki worked as a professional hockey referee, first in the Junior Hockey League and then the American Hockey League. He hung up his skates to work as a banker at Quicken Loans and JPMorgan Chase on his way to being recruited into sales at Forecast5 Analytics in 2013, a Naperville, Illinois-based provider of advanced data analytics software designed specifically for the public sector. 

Prozaki graduated from the Walsh College of Accountancy and General Business in Troy, Michigan, in 2015 with a general business degree at the age of 37. But his quest for knowledge had just begun. 

“I wanted to increase my knowledge so that I could sell advanced analytics to the analytics practitioner,” Prozaki says. “Yes, there are the stereotypical sales people who are just trying to get you to buy something, but when you sell expensive things, you want to make sure it’s the right fit for your customer’s needs.” 

University of Chicago, Northwestern or Notre Dame?: Prozaki finds the right fit 

Prozaki explored analytics programs at the University of Chicago and Northwestern before deciding that the Notre Dame MSBA program would be the best fit for his professional needs. “The curriculum has been a really good balance of going broad and deep,” Prozaki notes. “We’re getting a broad enough exposure to analytics, fundamentals, concepts and technology, and we’re going deep enough that I have a strong foundation to make myself marketable and continue to educate myself in the areas of analytics that interest me.” 

As he’s worked his way through the program, Prozaki has been just as impressed by the commitment of faculty members as he has the relevance of his courses. “I really feel like everybody I engage with in the program is more committed to my success than I am—and I’ve been working my tail off.” 

The power of the Notre Dame family 

The beauty of the MSBA program is that Prozaki hasn’t been working in isolation. “The personal relationships I’ve been able to build with my professors and classmates has really helped foster my learning,” Prozaki notes. 

“My CEO, who is a wildly successful person, gave me one piece of advice,” Prozaki recalls. “He told me not to take the easy path and go online for a graduate degree. He said to make sure you’re in class and you get to build those relationships. He was absolutely right: I love that it’s a cohort and we’re developing together. I’ve been really impressed with my classmates here.” 

Prozaki believes that the relationships he’s built over the course of a single year will endure beyond commencement. “Never underestimate the value of the Notre Dame family,” Prozaki says. “That family is going to be with you for life, as much as the skills and knowledge that you gain in the program.”