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We intend to prepare graduates to work in business, government, or the non-profit sector, where demand is rising for employees who not only have quantitative analytic skills, but also understand the complexities and challenges of working with social data, and are able to communicate results to decision-makers. Social data of various forms is accumulating rapidly, creating a need for employees who have the right combination of hard skills to analyze it effectively, and soft skills to interpret and present the results for audiences of decision-makers, colleagues, stakeholders and the public.

Our goal is to produce well-rounded graduates who can:
  • Define a question that can be addressed by the quantitative analysis of social data
  • Design a study to address this question, following basic social science principles for analyzing social data
  • Select appropriate data and method for their study, prepare data, and execute the analysis
  • Interpret their results in a way that reflects understanding of important social processes
  • Present results in a non-technical fashion to a non-expert audience

 

Based on discussions with recruiters, examples of the types of positions we expect graduates to be competitive for include:

Business
  • Marketing involving quantitative analysis of customer and other data
  • Human resources involving analysis of employee data
  • Data analyst, emphasizing demographic, economic and social data
  • Trainee programs in management consulting and banking looking for graduates with a combination of hard and soft skills
  • Graduates will also be well-prepared for postgraduate study in social science or professional schools
Government
  • Planning, research and policy that require analysis of demographic, economic, and other statistical data
  • Data collection, including statistical agencies
Non-profits
  • Planning, research and policy involving analysis of data on stakeholders, clients, and social and economic planning
  • Fundraising and outreach that involves analysis of data on donors and prospects

Because our program only had its first intake in 2017, we will not have large numbers of graduates until 2021, and only then will we be able to provide statistics on outcomes. However, one indicator of likely demand for QSA training is the success that students have had finding internships. Students have had internships with large and small companies, the government, and the non-profit sector. Most students begin to find internships during their third year, thus one-half (17 of 34) of the students who began their 4th year in fall 2020 had at least one internship. Increasing numbers of students find internships in their second year, thus nearly one-third (9 of 31) of the students who began their 3rd year in fall 2020 have had an internship. Six students have already had two internships: the 26 students who have had internships have had a total of 32 internships. Nearly two-thirds of the internships done by QSA students were in the business sector. The remainder were distributed across the non-profit, government, and education sectors. These numbers only include internships where the students’ responsibilities included application of skills learned in QSA. The actual number of students who had internships or had other jobs related to QSA will actually be higher because not all students who find internships report them to us, and even more students have had jobs or internships that we do not include here because their responsibilities were not QSA-related.