David Samuels

United Technologies Corporation, Specialist, Accounting Operations and Process Management

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional background.

In my current role, I perform business analytics at United Technologies Corporation (UTC), a Fortune 50, publicly held aerospace firm. Before joining UTC, I was a resort executive financial controller at SuperClubs resorts, one of the Caribbean’s premier all-inclusive resort chains with headquarters in Jamaica and the U.S.

I moved to the U.S. in 2010 and since then have been performing analytic roles in various industries.

Why did you choose the Harvard Business Analytics Program? How is this program different from other, similar programs?

I process very large data sets that are both structured and unstructured, so I had to find a program that would give me the tools and methodologies to keep producing accurate work and scale up quickly as data sets grew. The Harvard Business Analytics Program gave me this and then some. Harvard gives you something special—through its excellent case studies and professors who challenge you to think outside the box and get better and better.

How has what you’ve learned in the program impacted the work you are currently doing?

I’m looked at as a magician at my current organization. The program has taught me what tools to apply, when to apply them, and how to use them.

What has been your greatest takeaway from the program?

My greatest takeaway so far is the ability to perform analytics on data sets that are both unstructured and structured. I have also learned to identify the infrastructure that is needed to transform an organization to digital while keeping in mind factors like people, process, systems, and strategy.

How will what you’ve learned make you a leader in your industry? Or, how has it made you a better leader in your industry?

I am a better leader already, as I know now not to take anything for granted during a digital transformation project and or a business analytics task.

As a leader, I am aware of how change can impact an organization positively and negatively—and I’ve learned to mitigate that risk.

What has been your experience collaborating with classmates in an online environment?

It is no different than being on campus in a lecture hall. The professors teach in the same manner, and you can see everyone and everything at the same time as if you are on campus. As a matter of fact, the online campus allows greater collaboration and work because you can be anywhere and meet and work on coursework at any time.

What advice do you have for others considering this program?

If you decide to attend the Harvard Business Analytics Program, start preparing to work, research, collaborate, and learn a lot at warp speed. You will be challenged, but it is nothing you cannot overcome as the professors will guide you through. Leave your ego at the door, as you are about to realize that you do not know much. 

What was the most valuable thing you took away from the immersion? Is there a particular moment, activity, or connection you made that stands out to you?

The most valuable thing I took away from the immersion was my collaboration with peers to get through difficult, demanding, and challenging situations. If you did not collaborate with your peers in small work groups to discuss cases, you could not pass the immersion. The work would have been too much to complete on your own.