Data Science Masters

March 4, 2020

MSDS Career Services: Q&A with Tori Gottlieb

Tori Gottlieb leads career services for MSDS students and alumni. She recently sat down for a Q&A about her experience running career services for the MSDS program.

Hi Tori! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m originally from San Francisco and have been working in higher education since 2006. I started my career as an academic advisor, working with students in the social sciences, humanities, and arts at UC Merced. I’ve also advised students in Materials Science & Engineering at Stanford, and before coming to MSDS, I advised the Informatics program at UW.

I live in Lake City with two VERY opinionated little girls, two very grumpy cats, and one very enthusiastic Pit Bull mix. In my spare time, I love reading, writing, watching baseball, and singing along (poorly) to Beyonce and Taylor Swift.

How do you promote career readiness for MSDS students?

So much of finding internships and jobs, especially in the tech industry, is networking. Students need to have opportunities to meet employers, and also need to be prepared when those opportunities arise. This is where having a polished resume, a solid elevator pitch, and a professional outfit come in handy! My goal is to hold events or promote other resources around campus so students are as prepared as possible going into meetings and interviews with employers.

What are some current career events and initiatives the MSDS program offers that prospective students should know about?

This year, we had resume reviews, a technical interview workshop, information sessions with companies like Amazon and Zillow, and networking events like Dinner & Data Science, where students can connect with industry professionals and alumni. I’m looking forward to holding more events in spring, and ramping up during the big hiring season in autumn quarter so that we have a full slate of events to help our incoming class with their job hunt.

What is special about the career services that the MSDS program offers it students and alumni?

The opportunity to network across cohorts is a huge benefit for our program. Our alumni are engaged and want to give back to the program and the students in it, which is rare, especially at the graduate level. Additionally, we have strong industry connections from organizations like Microsoft, Facebook, and Seattle Children’s Hospital who are highly invested in the success of the MSDS program. The fact that students can come into a program and immediately network with industry professionals who want to see them succeed helps them to feel connected to the industry and supported from day one.

The MSDS program is lucky to call Seattle home. What advantages does Seattle provide students and alumni?

Seattle is a hub of technology, much of which relies on data science, and thus our students and alumni. Data scientists are in high demand here, whether they opt for private industry or the public sector. There’s never a shortage of opportunities here, which allows professionals to advance their careers without having to uproot their lives. Additionally, Seattle is a city with great, young energy. There’s a lot of cultural activities and events, fabulous food, and beautiful natural scenery. It’s a wonderful place to live and work.

What advice would you offer incoming students?

You’ll have to hit the ground running when you get here in September, so show up to events, and use your resources! There are career events and resources specifically for MSDS, but there are also a ton of events going on around campus through the UW Career Center, Career Center @ Engineering, and the eScience Institute that can help you level up your career. Try to do as much as you can – there’s no telling where your next opportunity will come from.