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Olin Hall, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Graduate Career Services

MA Alumni Spotlight - Brianna Connelly

Name: Brianna Connelly
Current Job Title: Data Market Analyst
Name of Organization: University of Chicago; Center for Research in Security Pricing
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts, Economics, University of Denver
Graduate Degrees:  Master of Arts, Economics, University of Denver



What does your current position entail?
CRSP provides monthly Index updates for researchers and investment clients.  It is my role to ensure that the update for mutual fund information is complete and ensured credible.  I work primarily with SAS and SQL queries in our active database to find outliers and research any anomalies in our vendor-provided data.

How did you get your current position?
I applied through the University of Chicago website for the position.  My education and experience looked great on my resume and perfectly mirrored the requirements for this job.

In relation to graduation, when did you start the job search and when did you secure your position?
I began my job search six months prior to graduation and was offered this job with the University of Chicago three months before my graduation.

In regards to the job search process:
* Did anything surprise you?
The only surprise is the amount of 'silence' from companies.  I felt like I was giving them every single piece of information about myself and was not even being acknowledged.

* What recommendations do you have for current students?
My recommendation for other job seekers would be to not let this affect your job search - keep applying as often as possible even if you are waiting 'to hear back.'  Keeping active in the search process will eventually lead to finding the best job for you!

What's the strangest interview question you were ever asked? How did you respond?
I was asked what kind of funds I would invest on that specific day.  Luckily, I had thought about this a week prior and was able to answer with interesting investment options that didn't involve Apple or Facebook ha!

Which aspects of your background have been most helpful in your current position?
My background has helped me in so many ways with this position, but my graduate work specifically does in research, data manipulation, and quantitative mathematics, and has given me the skill sets to be successful daily.

If you were in your graduate program again, what would you do differently, if anything?
I would try to adapt everything to real-world and current situations.  Basic theory and fundamentals are essentials, but applying theory to the real world is where all the education you have obtained really becomes fascinating!

Any additional comments for current students?
Never stop meeting new people, whether they are colleagues, professors, or classmates.  You would be truly surprised of the wonderful opportunities a simple "Hello" and a smile can bring!