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Meet Darshana, UCI Master of Science in Business Analytics Graduate

September 01, 2022 • By The UCI Paul Merage School of Business

Before becoming a student, Darshana Daga loved to walk around the University of California, Irvine campus. “It’s such a beautiful place,” she says. “I used to visit campus whenever I could, go to UTC for a bite to eat, and just enjoy the scenery.”

Darshana, who came to the United States from India after spending five years as a sales and marketing professional, moved to Irvine, California, soon after getting married. “I realized I needed some technical skills in my pocket if I was going to grow in this industry,” she says. “While researching my options, it became clear to me that data and analytics was a growing field, and I became interested in UCI’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program at The Paul Merage School of Business. It checked all of the boxes for me.”

More than a student

Since a few of her friends were current UCI students, Darshana was already familiar with the school’s offerings. “What I loved most about the program was how very hands-on it was. I felt like I wasn’t just a student here, I was actually improving my career.”

The UCI team helped Darshana to understand the potential job market after she gained the necessary skillsets. “All of this helped me greatly to navigate the program and made me very grateful for my decision to join UCI,” she explained.

Darshana’s training at UCI was essential to her success after graduation. “The instructors at the school provided me with technical know-how and exposed me to key individuals in the industry,” she says. “They even prepared me for what to expect when going into interviews and fulfilled all my expectations of what I would need going forward.”

When the hard work pays off

As a student, Darshana had the opportunity to work as the president of Merage Analytics Club, which really improved her resume. Once she finished the program, Darshana started to send applications. “There was a huge hurdle to overcome with my visa,” she explained. “But it seems employers were more open to work with me and sponsor me, so that was wonderful.”

In January 2022, PWC in Irvine hired Darshana as their business analytics division associate. “Working here has been a great learning journey for me,” she says. "Consulting is a different ballgame, so I’m having the time of my life learning about it.”

Far from home, but a sense of belonging

Darshana is vocal about how her experiences at UCI have benefited real-world scenario applications. “I appreciate the skillsets that I have today thanks to the program,” she says. “For example, I’m doing SQL daily at my work with PWC. So, that foundation of understanding the language and what it means from a business perspective is essential to me.”

In addition to the practical skills she developed through the program, Darshana is also grateful for her support as an International student. “You need a strong ecosystem to thrive when you’re so far from your home country,” she mentions. “I made a lot of great friends and met many likeminded people. That feeling of belonging is something very special.”