Undergraduate Programs

Why I Became a Business Intelligence & Data Analytics Major in College

Clarkson student Max Powers poses with his laptop and his business partner Selorm Bruce.
Clarkson student Max Powers looks off into the distance while relaxing outside.

Hi, I’m Max Powers and I’m from Brooklyn, NY. I just finished my sophomore year here at Clarkson University in the Business Intelligence and Data Analytics (BIDA) major with a minor in Information Technology. My major is unique, it’s a mix of information systems, business and data analytics, management, and operations. But it doesn’t have a traditional college major name, so I want to explain my experience in it and why I chose it.

First, I should start off by explaining how I ended up at Clarkson. When I was a junior in high school, I heard about the Clarkson School (TCS) program, where I was able to attend college to replace my senior year of high school and become a full-fledged college student earlier than usual. Once I came here for TCS, I loved it and had to stay.

During that first year, I was enrolled in SB113 and SB114, which quickly became two of my favorite courses. These are the standard first-year business program courses for any student in the Reh School of Business. The first-year business courses are where we come up with a business plan and try to bring it to life. At the end of the first semester, you and your team pitch your business idea to a group of real investors for seed money.

To be honest, I bombed my first pitch experience with a horrible pitch to investors that my professor called “forgettable.” But having that time to develop as an entrepreneur and thinker made me who I am and gave me all the right skills and knowledge for my next adventure. My spring semester of freshman year was the start of COVID. A short time after we got sent home for the semester, my professor reached out to me and my business partner and said that we could all use a little bit of good news. This sparked the idea for us to develop a new business idea – a website that anyone could go to that would only promote relevant and positive new stories. 

Clarkson student Max Powers poses with a laptop and his business partner Selorm Bruce, also a Clarkson student.
This is me and my business partner Selorm Bruce

Especially during the crazy pandemic, everything that was on the general media was so negative and scary. Many people just needed a little bit of good news with positivity and hope. Those stories weren’t being given the attention they deserved so we took that on and had a website that features only relevant and positive real news stories. We went with it and launched a website. We named it  “All Good News.”

From the process of launching our website, I learned that I love the creativity and artistry of web development. I’ve since become a freelancer and helped many small businesses launch beautiful websites, which is also the best job I’ve ever had. 

Since I’ve started down this path, I’ve realized how much I love being on the cutting edge of tech, and figuring out what’s next. My understanding of web tech has developed every day, and now I’m more excited than ever, with Web 3.0 becoming the next big thing. This is exactly what I love about my education: I am learning so many relevant and real-world things that are fascinating to me.

An infographic depicting Clarkson's Class of 2020 had a 100% placement rate for business intelligence and data analytics majors.
My major, business intelligence & data analytics, had a 100% job placement rate for the class of 2020

With that being said, I believe the Business Intelligence and Data Analytics major is one of the most future-proof majors out there, just because of where the world is heading. The concepts that we talk about in classes are a mix of further-based and cutting-edge tech that is happening now! Concepts of AI, and understanding data, and how much data the world produces are all themes of my coursework. We are learning how to look at data and how to understand data. I have gotten to understand how machines think and how they can be taught to process data. This is all so intriguing to me and I have taken what I am learning in the class setting and have used it in my own self-study and interest in the industries. 

My favorite course of all time was CS141 (computer science). I learned to code in C++ for the first time and realized I really love the creativity involved, so I decided to take Information Technology as a minor. I really appreciated the support in this class, since I have tried to learn to code many times outside of Clarkson, and I have had a little bit of success and been able to understand it. It wasn’t until I got to this class and went to the labs where we sit down and actually solve a problem by coding. With the help of the teaching assistant (TA) and our professor, I had a huge breakthrough in my first month of the course and was able to understand and dive deeper into coding than I could before. 

I have been asked a few times why I want to be in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics as my major if I enjoy being an entrepreneur, and the reasons are simple. There is job security in job markets of business intelligence and data analytics. In addition, it really works out well for me because I am an entrepreneur, and I want to continue to be an entrepreneur, but I don’t need to major in entrepreneurship to learn entrepreneurship at Clarkson because it’s everywhere. I want to have a more technical understanding and skills that I can add to my entrepreneurial knowledge. That’s why for me being in this program of study has been perfect as it has still allowed me to learn and be a part of the business school but get the technical skills out of it that I need to be a marketable future employee.

I am hopeful that I can combine my enthusiasm for being an entrepreneur with my passion and interest in technology in my next projects. I have so many ideas for what could be next. I know The lessons I learned from developing my website as a business in my first year will help me take my next ideas to a new level. I also know that the education and connections that I am making here at Clarkson will guide me and support me as I move forward and hope to be on the cutting edge of what’s next. 

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