Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of a Business Analyst

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Being a good analyst means being good at numbers and knowing how to share bad news, according to a senior business intelligence analyst.

Image: Anadmit, Getty Images / iStockphoto

As a high school student at a regional specialty school in New Jersey, Jake Sisskind had a revelation: he wanted to go into business. He had applied to a business program, but didn’t enter it, so he went to a liberal arts school, Muhlenberg College. When he started learning about stats and running regressions, it all started to click. He went on to major in economics and minor in business, which Susskind says has helped him prepare for a career in business analysis. He then obtained his MBA from NYU Stern School of Business.

Now 28, Sisskind is the Senior Business Intelligence Analyst for the American Kennel Club. Founded in 1884, the association manages the largest register of purebred dogs and sanctions more than 22,000 events per year.

At first he started in pre-med, but Sisskind was “still a numbers guy,” he said. “I turned to numbers rather than words.”

“Numbers have always been a lot easier for me,” he said. “Finding correlations and data was kind of natural.” In Sisskind’s first job – which he calls a sort of “mixed-up” job – he wasn’t a business analyst, but he started to analyze reports. “Metrics seemed like something I was good at,” he said. “I could look at a business from the inside out and strategize on how to move forward. ”

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This first post helped Sisskind understand how a business works. He brought this knowledge to his next position, as a digital analyst at makeup company Avon. This is where he started the “actual implementation of markup, or pixels,” he said, “on the website. And from there I could get data straight from it. of the site”.

Pixels are “the little piece of code that tracks what a user does on a website: when they click a button, view a page, or interact with the website,” he explained. This position has propelled his career in business analysis, he said. In this role, he enjoyed being able to use his computer coding skills, and also strengthened his ability to present effectively to senior management, becoming more confident in this role.

On a typical day, Sisskind arrives at the office and settles into her open plan cubicle. It checks that its to-do list can involve any part of the business, such as “reporting on web metrics, marketing reporting, user engagement, other aspects of the business, finance to product, ”he explained.

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Then he gets to work by asking himself a series of questions. “I look at the data to see what the trends are. What is relevant? What is not? How is the data different from yesterday? Or from year to year? How will data impact the business in the future or in the present? Are there immediate changes needed to be implemented? ”

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Image: Jake Sisskind

Sisskind will go over these questions himself and in a typical stakeholder meeting asking about a new webpage and how they could improve it, for example, he can advise them on how to improve it. way to track data points, using one of their own tools to capture the data. points on the website and Google Analytics. “I can help them differentiate the types of users that are coming in, and things like that,” he said.

It’s rewarding work because he “gets to make changes,” Sisskind said. When people come up with a product or a web page, when they’ve done their data, they still need to know “what is this data telling them?” Sisskind said. “When they come to me, I kind of have the answers. I can fill in the gaps that they can’t fill, and I can educate them. I can say ‘we see this as a trend, maybe we should. be start doing it, so we can grow the business even further. ‘”

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It is also a job with challenges. Everything he recommends will not be accepted and implemented, for example. And when Sisskind has to report numbers, it’s not always positive news that he shares. “It may be hard for someone to hear. You have to make sure that the numbers are not only correct, but that they can lead to changes. It is not interesting to just report the numbers as they are. . ”

When Sisskind first envisioned a career in analytics, he knew he would look at the data, but didn’t know that he could also select which data to choose. “It turned out to be a good thing,” he said. “It’s good to know where your data is coming from. ”

Ultimately, having this knowledge pays off. “When people implement your advice and you see it working,” he said, “you feel really good. ”

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