Editor’s Note: Eryn McMorrow of the Customer Success Advocate team at Alteryx reached out to her Alma Mater, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, to suggest incorporating Alteryx into their analytics curriculum. She also reached out to a former colleague who now works at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Though outreach like this is not part of Eryn’s job description, she felt a strong conviction to give back and provide opportunities for those pursuing higher education. Why did she do it? How did she connect? Was it easy? Eryn was kind enough to share her story to inspire Alteryx associates and other supporters to reach out to your own education contacts.
Before starting the MBA program at Pepperdine University, I read through the 16-course curriculum. One course that caught my eye was quantitative analysis. Having no background or experience in analytics, I found this course to be intimidating. I had heard this course was tough and the professor was even tougher. To say I dreaded this course would be an understatement – I was sure this course would lead to the end of the road for me in business school.
Fast forward to my second term at Pepperdine and I was knees deep in quantitative analysis. To my surprise, I loved it. I was working on projects that opened my eyes to just how powerful data is becoming and how critical it is for businesses to leverage to make strategic decisions.
Everything I learned in this course was Microsoft Excel based. As empowered as I felt at the time, I look back and think about just how much more empowered I’d feel as a graduate student if I were given the opportunity to learn Alteryx.
After completing the course, I knew that I wanted to incorporate data analytics into my career in some way, shape or form. When I started job hunting, I found out that Alteryx, the analytics automation company, had an opening in sales development, and I saw it as a tremendous opportunity to learn more about analytics and help organizations be forward thinking in their digital transformation efforts.
A lightbulb went on
In learning about the Alteryx Platform and now working with Large Enterprise customers, I understand just how important it is for organizations to have a data literate workforce to thrive in the digital age. I believe much of this begins in the classroom – the earlier students are exposed to Alteryx, the more data literate they’ll be and the more marketable they’ll be when they graduate.
Paying it forward
That’s why I decided to reach out to my alma mater about Alteryx. For me, it was about paying it forward. Here are a few other reasons you might want to reach out to a school you care about or some other education connection.
Expand the number of graduates with data analytics skills: We all know there’s a tremendous global shortage of people with these skills. Our customers are starved for a bigger pool of qualified job candidates.
Improve the competitiveness of a college or university: Higher education is intensely competitive. In part, colleges and universities are judged by their graduate job placement statistics. It takes a long time to build a curriculum and a reputation in a field like data analytics. It’s never too early to initiate that first conversation.
It’s easy to do
Making a connection is easier than you might think. The SparkED team at Alteryx has created an outreach toolkit with ready-to-use tools for each of us, making it fast and fun: SparkED-in-a-Box.
At an alumni event, I had the opportunity to speak with Pepperdine University’s president about infusing analytics into their curriculum. Unbeknownst to me, they were already thinking about how to empower their students to pursue analytics as a field of study. It’s important to remember during these interactions that schools are primarily concerned with equipping their students with the tools and skills needed to thrive in today’s workforce. This is what makes the SparkED education program so special – we are providing schools across the globe with a tangible way to upskill their students, free of cost.
The introduction of our education offering went well. The SparkED team initiated a partnership with Pepperdine University’s Seaver College and Graziadio Business School, and the program continues to grow. This inspired me to reach out to another contact from Pepperdine, Shani Mahalu-Atiya, who now works in UCLA’s quantitative economics department. I sent her an email to broach the topic, she was interested, and the rest was managed by the SparkED team.
Don’t be shy
You don’t need special credentials to reach out to a teacher, department head or administrator. There’s no downside to reaching out.
It doesn’t even have to be a school that you attended. You may care about the school because a friend or relative attends or works there or because the school or organization is important to your community.
You don’t need a plan
You don’t have to have a plan or expect a certain outcome. Don’t underestimate the impact that a single conversation can have. Just open a door, and the SparkED team will step through it.
No fuss, no muss
The great thing about the SparkED program is that there’s a whole team dedicated to helping more campuses around the world incorporate Alteryx into their curriculum. All you need to do is get the ball rolling. I believe that one small action can have a lasting impact.
Who knows how many lives my small efforts might impact for the better? I don’t need a guarantee about the outcome. I’m happy knowing that I took two things I’m passionate about — helping others and data analytics — and took the initiative to bring them together.” For me, that’s exciting and gratifying enough.
Discover our SparkED-in-a-Box outreach toolkit, available to all Alteryx associates and external advocates. It includes a graphic email to send (as-is or customized by you), a few slides, a brief Designer demo, and a Feedback Form.
Earn SWAG and community recognition. Did we mention you will earn SparkED swag? For example, you can get a SparkED t-shirt just by sending an email to a contact. Use the Feedback Form to report on your activities.