“At Haslam, I was surrounded by professors that constantly pushed me to dream bigger, but also equipped me with the skills needed to achieve those dreams."
Business Analytics & Statistics - Alumni
Business Analytics & Statistics - Alumni
Laura Burgin, a 2014 alumna of the business analytics program at the Haslam College of Business, came to the University of Tennessee seeking a top-tier education from a large state school. She also wanted to make her own mark on campus, which she accomplished. She was a Greg and Lisa Smith Global Leadership Scholar (GLS), a member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program and an accomplished student-leader in: the Boss Dance Company, Mock Trial, the Student Government Association, Student Alumni Associates and the Senior Impact Campaign.
“When it came time to choose my major, I was interested in a few and was having a hard time deciding,” says Burgin. “I ended up choosing to major in business analytics because it was the only one that meant I never had to take another accounting class. Ironically, I ended up working at a big-four accounting firm. Aside from desperately trying to avoid accounting, I had just finished a stats class and was able to see, for the first time, that analytics was more than crunching numbers – it was strategic thinking, creative problem solving, and at the center of every decision that companies make. I was hooked.”
Burgin lives in New York City and works at Ernst & Young as a consultant in the advanced analytics practice. She travels Monday-Thursday servicing clients throughout the United States, and has done so weekly for the last four years since joining Ernst & Young.
”I am currently leading a team that is creating and implementing a predictive analytics solution to drive improvement across the client’s integrated supply chain organization,” Burgin says. “I get to strike a great balance between having my hands on the data, building predictive models, and delivering innovative tools, while still working closely with the business to understand problems and see the direct results of what I am building. I love working directly with executives and not only getting to see how the big decisions are made, but also being the one to provide the information they need to make the big decisions.”
Burgin feels incredibly grateful to both the university and the college for the opportunities that were made available through several experiential learning opportunities. She credits much of her gleaned confidence to the drive and motivation she observed from both her classmates and professors while a student.
“I was surrounded by professors that constantly pushed me to dream bigger, but also equipped me with the skills needed to achieve those dreams,” says Burgin. “As a part of the Global Leadership Scholars, I was surrounded by students with extraordinary drive and dedication. We encouraged each other’s successes and learned from each other constantly.”
Additionally, Burgin believes that without the faculty and staff’s love and passion for student-success, the opportunities she was provided would not have been as bountiful.
“The Haslam College of Business was able to attract top companies to recruit on campus, and without that, I would not have been recruited by EY,” she says. “UT provided the opportunities to succeed. In my experience, the professors, and my peers, prepared me to take advantage of opportunities.”
Burgin’s professional accomplishments have not gone unnoticed by her former GLS professors. She was awarded the second-annual Global Leadership Scholars Alumni award celebrating both her accomplishments and her continued commitment to the Haslam College of Business as both a member of the Haslam Young Alumni Board, wherein she serves as a mentor, to an undergraduate student and a faithful donor to the college.
Burgin has big dreams for her future endeavors that match both her personal and professional passions.
“I have become very passionate about helping develop young women in tech,” says Burgin. “I work in analytics, and it has been challenging to work in a male-dominated field. I’m passionate about encouraging younger women to pursue careers in STEM fields and to help develop those along that path that I am on. Partnering with organizations like Girls Who Code is a great way to help close the gender gap in technology.”
As a member of the Haslam Young Alumni Board and an annual donor to the college, Burgin stresses the importance of lighting the path for those behind you.
“I was on the receiving end of alumni generosity,” she says. “Without this, I would not have been able to take advantage of the opportunities at UT that led me to where I am today. I saw first-hand the impact that alumni giving can have. As a student, I gave my time and energy to the Senior Impact campaign for the class of 2014. We ended up with over 26 percent participation from our class and raised just shy of $30,000 to leave our mark on UT. It was amazing to see the class come together and show, in a very tangible way, their appreciation for the school. But it doesn’t stop when you leave campus. As alumni, we have the unique opportunity remember the amazing experiences that we had and, through our generosity, to pave the way for future Vols to have amazing experiences of their own.”
Because of Burgin and her classmates’ efforts, senior impact has grown to 66 percent of senior participation, the highest recorded participation at the University of Tennessee.
In his research, Haileab Hilafu aims to make it easier to extract actionable knowledge from large datasets