Following completion of the Level Data Analytics Core boot camp, I was paired with Chad Cavanaugh, CFO at CRMD, Inc. I wrote this piece to memorialize my Capstone project and share a story about how the Capstone relationship with CRMD continued into a weekend long Datathon in Toronto, ON.      

Working with CRMD CFO on Capstone Project

For my Level Data Analytics Capstone Project, I had the opportunity to work with CRMD’s Chief Financial Officer, Chad Cavanaugh to assist him in creating custom project management dashboards across each of the firm’s engagements using Tableau data visualization software. This project will assist Chad in managing engagement profitability, budget to actual comparisons and ultimately assist in optimizing allocation of resources. The data set I worked with was provided to me in Microsoft Excel and would require minor cleansing prior to analysis. Over a period of 3 weeks, I worked closely with Chad to develop key dashboards and sleek customer facing project summary visualizations that are being used by the Company today. The dashboards and visuals I created will be updated on a real-time basis as Chad and his team complete development of a connector between its time capture tool and Tableau.

Datathon-Day

Chad and I connected prior to the Datathon commencement at the Mars Discovery District: A state-of-the-art innovation hub in Toronto that brings together entrepreneurs, researchers, educators, and creative minds alike to foster growth in tomorrow’s economy. Chad and I rehashed the analysis and visualizations I had prepared as part of my Capstone to get in the right frame of mind for the Datathon.

Both equipped with our passion for data, Chad and I entered the ring at a “Datathon” hosted by the Rotman School of Management here at the University of Toronto. We were presented with a real-world data set from The Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and tasked with analyzing the data, generating insights and policy recommendations aimed at increasing the retention rate/reducing the attrition rate of students in apprenticeship trade programs. We prepared visualizations to support our findings and recommendations. Under tight time constraints, this was a challenging exercise in teamwork and execution which helped further develop our working relationship. Chad and I participating in this event together captures the very essence of the Northeastern Advantage: a continuous experiential learning culture that provides opportunities to supplement coursework with relevant, practical opportunities far beyond the classroom (crossing borders included). Shout out to Ting Lei, fellow Level Capstone (’16, Seattle) who was a late scratch from our team, but was with us in spirit!

What I Learned from the Capstone Project

Effective data visualizations help the content expert (your client) identify trends and areas for further analysis.  My Capstone project taught me how to be adaptive and flexible to respond to the needs of employers—an experience not easily replicated in traditional coursework.  The fluid nature of the communication between the data analyst and various stakeholders in a project are dynamic and can only be experienced first-hand. Data visualization is fun! However,  a lot of hard work and time is poured into the preparation and analysis of the data before you can get to this fun stage, which Level prepares you for with extensive training in methodology.  The boot camp refines your quantitative skills in probability and statistical analysis and teaches you how to leverage the programs and tools (R, SQL,Tableau, etc) to put theory into practice using real data sets and business problems. The coursework is challenging but it really does pay off!

Following day 2 of the Datathon, there was some time left to give the CRMD squad the Canadian experience with a tour of the Royal Ontario Museum before departure. What a great weekend! Thank you Chad and CRMD for venturing north of the border. Next time, I will be visiting CRMD in Boston for a “wicked” awesome time!  I’m very grateful for the skills, opportunities and relationships I’ve acquired through the Level program.  I am now powered up with the skills and tools to charge ahead like a Rhino 😉

About CRMD, Inc – Level Capstone Corporate Partner Bio

CRMD

CRMD is a boutique Salesforce.com consulting firm founded in 2014 and based in Boston, MA. The company has an extensive menu of services from implementation to custom development and optimization for business applications across the Salesforce.com ecosystem. Learn more about CRMD!

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