Paolo Daren Baluyot ‘15

Project Policy Analyst with Business and Financial Services at UC San Diego | LinkedIn

I am fortunate to have been exposed to many different industries ranging from logistics to banking services. This exposure helped me to really find my passion and shape my career path. I did not start out in Data Science, which is the field I’m currently in. If things developed as I would like, in the future I would take on bigger projects within my department and use the power of data analysis to improve upon any inefficiencies at UC San Diego.

Q: Where do you work and what do you do? A: When I was first hired by UC San Diego, I started off as a Buyer within HDH. I served as the consolidated point of contact for caterers when they would have questions about UC San Diego policies and procedures, which entailed familiarization with UC San Diego’s best procurement practices and solutions. I also ensured that vendors were following requirements to be able to do business with UC San Diego. I reviewed contracts to ensure that UC San Diego’s interests were protected in light of possible risks at catering events, concerts held on campus, or student and staff events held off-campus. After four months of being a Buyer with UCSD-HDH, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work where I currently do as a Project Policy Analyst within Business and Financial Services (BFS).

Q: What do you like most about your job? A: I have struggled post-grad to find a job in the Data Science world. It’s incredibly difficult to get a career in Data Science without any prior experience, and this is why I’m eternally grateful to my bosses and coworkers for training me and believing in my capabilities to learn the tools of the trade. I am now two months into my role as a Project Policy Analyst and, so far, my responsibilities include analyzing data and reporting my findings to help other divisions within UCSD-BFS improve their processes. This role has so many professional growth opportunities, and I am excited to see myself developing skills which can give insights of lasting value to various departments within UC San Diego. By helping other departments on campus with their data analysis needs, I believe I contribute to the enhancement of the student experience here at UC San Diego, which all the more makes my job fulfilling. It’s my own way of giving back to my alma mater.

Q: What’s one thing you wish you knew as an undergrad? A: I wish I had known more about and taken advantage of the services offered by the Career Center. I had a relatively difficult time trying to figure out what my career options were as an Economics major, so I wish I had taken time to explore resources that would have better prepared me for postgrad.

Q: What advice do you have for first years? A: Go and have fun! Take risks. Academics should be a top priority, but college is also the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and learn about who you truly are. You have at least four years to make your college experience count. Join student organizations and do something aside from studying. Surround yourself with friends who truly care about you, and don’t cling to people who are not genuine. During rough roads, like midterms or finals, your friends will be your support group. These roads are meant to be traversed with them, and you would be surprised how easy the journey becomes with more friends by your side.

Q: What about advice for students about to graduate? A: Immerse yourselves in activities that will help you after graduation. Get internships, and don’t give up when it feels like your search is endless. There will always be one out there for you. Start figuring out what possible career paths you can take, and try to find out and learn the tools of the trade for these careers as this will give you an edge over other students once you graduate. Most things can be accomplished with an excellent set of communication skills, so hone in on these skills and learn how to foster understanding and deep interpersonal relationships. Lastly, take the time to appreciate your parents’ hard work, support, sacrifices, and dedication so you can go to college. It’s no easy feat for them!

Q: What do you think is the most important quality or skill students should learn to prepare themselves for the transition into the workplace? A: Along with communication skills, I think students should try to learn the practical applications of the industry they want to go into. This will give them a tremendous advantage over other students competing for the same position. To use myself as an example, as a data analyst, I wish I had taken the time to learn programs like Microsoft Access, Tableau, SQL, and R. Prior to my current job, I had zero experience in all of these but I am extremely fortunate that UC San Diego was willing to provide me comprehensive training so I could be successful in my job. Most of the time, however, workplaces expect you to know the tools of the trade already so they don’t provide in-depth training.

I hope that by reading this, I was able to help someone through their college journey. Feel free to contact me on LinkedIn!

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