Binbin Li '15 MS MIS
My first major job after I graduated with my master’s in management information systems was as a statistician in the Risk Engineering and System Analytics Center, which was a partnership between AIG and Clemson University. We worked with professors and graduate students on research, and my job was to gather data on accidents in the workplace to help us understand loss trends. AIG would then leverage the insights to better understand a client's risk profile.
In 2017, I was promoted to the job of data analyst and now work in Client Risk Solutions as part of the core team at AIG headquarters.
Today my focus is on analyzing incidents data to pinpoint our clients’ risks and losses and help identify ways for them to prevent accidents. It’s a new initiative, established just three years ago, and part of a larger pipeline.
Our data analytics team is on the backend. The underwriters and risk managers work in the middle. They work with us on developing insights, then use those insights to work with the client to come up with risk prevention solutions together.
I feel lucky to work at AIG, which has a dataset that might be the largest in the insurance domain and which enables us to provide precise evaluations and reliable recommendations to our clients.
Our department is very much in a “start-up” mode. There are a lot of different data analysis techniques coming out right now. We have to learn these new techniques, and we have new, innovative projects and proposals that we’re developing every month.
We get to work on the “hot topics,” like analyzing sensor data. We tested wearable devices on workers to monitor their activities, trying to associate certain movements with accidents or injuries. We also use advanced text-mining techniques to parse sentences and extract underlying causes from accident descriptions.
So even though AIG is a traditional insurance company, my job is more like working at a start-up. It’s not like you’re limited by how many years of experience you have in the company. It really depends on how willing you are to learn. The more you learn and contribute, the easier it is for you to become a team leader.
On the Horizon
The biggest challenge has been for companies to figure out how to leverage their data, so they hired data analysts and scientists to do general, exploratory analysis. But companies are now becoming clearer about how to use data to drive profits. I think the challenge for the future is that data analysts will have to be more specialized.
I learned all different types of models in my program. We didn’t have a specific focus. This is good as it offers students various potential career choices, but what makes a company decide to hire someone is his or her skills to solve specific business problems.
For someone just starting a program, I would recommend they focus on a particular domain, like visualization, machine learning or natural language processing. If you're good at something specific and can really apply certain techniques, that’s what companies will need.
Photos by Salcedo Freelance.