MTDA Alumni Spotlight: Luka Brkljacic
When I spoke with Luka Brkljacic via Zoom he was connecting from Serbia where he was working remotely while visiting family.
A member of our first graduating class, Luka sought out the Translational Data Analytics Institute's fully online Masters in Translational Data Analytics (MTDA) program when he was looking for a career pivot. He was looking to move from corporate business analysis and get more into the world of data analytics. His wife worked at the University, so he was able to use her dependent tuition benefit to help offset the cost. Overall, he found the program valuable and at its core were the hard skills he needed to pivot careers and the relationships innate in a small cohort.
As an undergraduate at The Ohio State University, Luka started off in neuroscience with an eye on medical school before switching to business. His friends were all computer science majors and what they were doing interested him, so he added a computer science minor. After college Luka joined AmeriCorps and worked with the I Know I Can program which focuses on college access. He eventually accepted a fulltime position with the organization and then he went on to a position with Abbott Nutrition.
When Luka started the program all students were enrolled in a 5 semester pathway, which was a lot for some working professionals, especially those who don't have as much experience with statistics and coding since there can be a learning curve. Luka's computer science background helped him, but he heard from some classmates that they felt like they were being thrown into the deep end. In response to this, the MTDA now offers a 10 semester pathway that provides a slower pace for those who want it.
Another highlight of the MTDA is the two semester Capstone. Projects are sponsored by entities both internal and external to the University. While Luka says he felt some frustration at the beginning of his capstone experience, it was ultimately rewarding as he received a job offer from his project sponsor, Honda's 99P Labs. Luka is now in a data science role with Honda looking at mobility data. In his current position there's a lot of creative and open-ended exploration that he hadn't experienced in previously.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn 12.07.2022