At Equifax, we believe that knowledge can power the world, and our D&A Academic Partnerships Program reflects our commitment to doing just that – by sharing insights to help foster the next generation of leaders in data and analytics.
Peter Maynard, Senior Vice President, Data and Analytics at Equifax recently sat down with Bill Franks to share his own experiences and industry advice with Data Science and Analytics students at Kennesaw State University – one of our D&A Academic partners in Greater Atlanta – during the KSU “Data Science Perspectives” podcast series.
View the full episode below, or read on to learn Peter Maynard’s top advice to students and professionals alike.
Meet Challenges with Curiosity
With more than two decades of experience in data and analytics under his belt, Peter Maynard has seen and experienced his fair share of industry shifts over the course of his career. Around 2014, for example, he saw the rise of algorithms spur an industry-wide movement in how data is used. By embracing the then-unknown, Maynard and his colleagues at Equifax figured out new ways to integrate algorithms and data sources into production and in turn, leveraged data to help make better business decisions. Just as data scientists at Equifax continue to embrace new advancements in technology, Maynard encouraged students to meet challenges with curiosity, looking at challenges as new opportunities.
“It’s really important not to shy away from the tough stuff,” Maynard said.
In fact, as he looks back on his professional journey, curiosity around problem solving is one of the top traits he believes makes for a successful career. And when it comes to professional growth, Maynard encouraged students to take that curiosity even further, looking beyond their areas of expertise to learn more about what other people are doing in the field, from understanding the minds of technologists to enrolling in courses outside of the university requirement.
“Go take as many classes as you can,” continued Maynard. “Maximize your learning.”
Embrace Diversity of Thought
What’s the number one thing students – and industry professionals – can do to drive their own career success? According to Maynard, working well with others is number one. Energized by each new challenge he and his team face, Maynard embraces collaboration to create solutions – and solve problems – for his customers every day. While individual learning is important, Maynard said that learning to embrace different perspectives – and joining forces to fully harness those perspectives – is key.
“Diversity of thought is so important,” he said. “If you have different people with different thoughts coming in – and have that curiosity – that’s where the magic happens.”
Harness the Power of Communication
It’s no secret that the world of data and analytics can be complex, but oftentimes, the ability to clearly communicate those complexities is what makes a good employee great. As students prepare to enter the workforce, Maynard emphasized the value of being able to clearly communicate their work to potential employers, peers, managers, partners and consumers alike. As someone who’s made many new hires himself over the years, Maynard said the ability to communicate simply and clearly is an important trade for data scientists – from applying for a new role, to developing a strategy and beyond. At all levels, Maynard said there needs to be a vision. By communicating their visions, students can realize results.
In fact, when it came to partnering with the KSU Center for Statistical and Analytical Research, their ability to harness the power of communication was key.