Mounica Urity ’16 BSBA (MIS) has always had a variety of passions. While technology and science pique her interest, she also loves English and history. After high school, she knew she wanted to fuse together both aspects of her personality.
“I didn’t want to give up on either part of me,” Urity says.
Majoring in MIS proved to be the ideal solution. With its top-ranked MIS program, the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona was her school of choice.
“That’s something that’s so great about MIS—it’s a mixture of both worlds,” she says. “And you can determine how much you want to be in each world.”
Technical skills and business communication skills are equally valuable in the field.
“A lot of times, there’s a dichotomy of ‘technical folk’ and ‘business folk,’” Urity adds. “It is so important to be able to bridge the gap between the two, regardless of which side you’re on.”
While pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Eller, one of her favorite experiences was collaborating with local nonprofits such as Joseph’s Pantry and the Women’s Business Center of Southern Arizona. Working with these organizations allowed her to put what she learned in classes to use in the real world.
Urity also enjoyed participating in case competitions during her undergraduate years. A particularly fond memory is that of the CoMIS Case Competition hosted by the University of Minnesota. Teams of students are given 24 hours to analyze a business problem and develop a solution.
“It’s a fun, sleep deprived day, and then you get to compete against other schools and network with students and with companies looking to hire,” she says. “And what’s also great is that it helps prepare you for talking to business partners when you get a job.”
Upon graduation, she took a job at USAA, where she had also interned during her junior year. Initially, she worked as a report developer in information governance IT. But after a while, she wanted to move from IT to a data science path.
“I knew I wanted to work with data and do the analysis and prediction myself instead of enabling it for others,” Urity says.
So by utilizing USAA’s education benefit, she pursued a master’s degree in data analytics from the University of Texas at San Antonio. The journey to graduation included many early mornings and late nights, but she completed the degree and took on a role as a data scientist specializing in natural language processing. In that position, she focused on how USAA could improve its processes, from better service to resolving friction points for members.
After nearly seven years at USAA, Urity took on a new role this summer as a data scientist at Walmart.
In her free time, she continues to put her technical and communication skills to use by volunteering in the STEM education field. Urity works with two groups—Hour of Code and the Girl Scouts—to teach elementary school girls about math, coding and more.
“There are so many different organizations that are dedicated to helping young girls learn about STEM, that it’s fun and it’s something they can do when they grow up,” she says.
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