Just 18 months into her career as an accountant in the oil and gas industry, Vasha Bhatari decided to return to school for an advanced degree in business analytics.
“I was analyzing labor pay for our technicians, cross-checking invoices against the GPS data we had from trucks in the field,” she says. “That’s when I became interested in analytics and how data modeling could solve those problems.”
After graduating from Haslam’s MSBA program in 2016, Bhatari joined e-commerce giant Amazon as a product manager. Her work covers last-mile routing, or the final stretch in delivering an order to a customer.
“We look at service time estimation,” she says. “GPS typically gives us a good estimate of driving time, but service time is an estimate of how long will it take to walk into the building, talk with the receptionist, and deliver the package.”
For a recent project, Bhatari conferred with Amazon Logistics to identify pain points and risks. Then, she worked with a team to develop a new model that predicts how long delivery will take based on multiple variables, including location, type of building, and package weight and size.
“That project is now used worldwide wherever Amazon Logistics is delivering,” Bhatari says.
Serving as a liaison between executives and data scientists, Bhatari drew on the soft skills she acquired in the MSBA program.
“I knew how to start with a conversation to find out exactly what the customer wants and where they’re coming from,” she says. “And I understood the data model enough to discuss it with both engineers and executives, bridging what is often a communication gap.”
Currently, Bhatari serves as a senior technical product manager at Amazon. In the next few years, she plans to learn more about people development.
“My experience in the MSBA program, especially the capstone course, fostered my ability to interact well with clients and team members,” she says. “Now, I want to cultivate that further as I pursue a management role.”