Education and Data

Rebecca Patterson '18

After graduating from Olin, Jared Frey ‘08 continued his education at UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. Since January, he has been working at Coursera, an education platform that partners with over 100 top universities and organizations worldwide (such as Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Yale, Wharton School of Business, and HEC Paris), to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.  Jared is a Data Scientist there, working mostly on business analytics and monetization.

Jared Frey '08

A fair amount of his typical day is spent analyzing data, using statistics and creating models and visualizations to provide product and business insights.  Jared also spends his time with engineers and designers,  putting together experiments and giving data-driven feedback. He interacts regularly with product managers and senior management, providing analysis, predictions and decision support that guide the direction of the product and the company.

When asked how he has made a difference in the world since leaving Olin, Jared mentions some interesting papers he published in grad school as well as certain work he did while at Pocket Gems, but notes that he thinks the impact of the work he’s doing now is the most important.  Coursera's mission is to make high quality education accessible to anyone at anytime. The current small step toward this goal is to offer MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) on their platform with partner provided content. MOOCs and more generally online education, are still young, and the best business models, pedagogy and technology are still being discovered.

Jared and his fiancee, Anli (Wellesley '09) in Bacharach, Germany this summer

And of course Jared has advice for Oliners!  For those seeking to attend grad school, “Think carefully about your motivations. The cost is high in terms of opportunity, time and money (mostly in lost salary) and it's only worth it if the outcome you seek can only be achieved this way.”

To Olin students considering a path other than engineering, he says,  “Most people see an engineering degree as a strong positive signal for work ethic, smarts, technical ability and analytical thinking. Since these are important in many areas outside of engineering, you are already a step ahead.

It’s important to have a clear story. Why are you interested in this direction? Can you point to examples where you displayed this interest or how it developed? How will your background be beneficial? How have you filled any gaps between the person you are on paper and the person that can excel on this path?”



Posted in: Education-Minded Oliners, Graduate School