Student Spotlight: Zach Schuster

March 20, 2018

After working at an insurance firm for a year, Zach Schuster realized he was in a rut.

“Every Monday morning, I wanted it to be Friday afternoon,” he says. “I was 22 years old and already wishing a large portion of my life away.”

Schuster had returned to his home state of Massachusetts for a job after earning a bachelor’s in finance. When he decided to make a career change, he started to explore analytics and discovered the Master of Science in Business Analytics program at Haslam.

“I wanted to broaden my quantitative skills,” he says. “The program here speaks for itself with its accolades and good reputation, so I started talking to the faculty. I realized it could be a great opportunity to catapult my career.”

Last fall, Schuster arrived in Knoxville and dove into the program.

“I’ve really enjoyed it so far,” he says. “I expected to prefer the client-facing side of things, but find that I appreciate the technical side as well. The computer programming and modeling is very satisfying for me.”

This summer, Schuster will serve as an intern at Eastman Chemical Company. “It’s an internal consulting role in their business analytics department,” he says. “I’m looking forward to gaining new experience.”

Following graduation in December 2018, Schuster hopes to secure a technical analytics position in a large company.

“From there, I’d like to work my way up into a management position,” he says. “I don’t want to do programming for the rest of my life, but I definitely want to start there.”

He’s open to exploring opportunities within the finance sector, but isn’t limited by his undergraduate degree. “From my past experience, going from finance to insurance to analytics, I’m pretty confident I’ll be in analytics for the long haul,” he says. “Down the road, it might be fun to start an analytics consulting business.”

Schuster appreciates the training and support he’s gleaning from the MSBA program.

“It really provides a solid foundation for analytics,” he says. “The faculty is always willing to help, and they’re great about connecting us with potential employers. Overall, this program does a great job of setting folks up for success.”