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Women in MIS—Data & Analytics Lead: Facebook and Girls + Data -Kira Wetzel

Nov. 1, 2019

Women in MIS—Data & Analytics Lead: Facebook and Girls + Data-Kira Wetzel

The Baylor MIS department is proud to present our “Women in MIS” spotlight series! This is a series of post that will be educational and inspiring to a diverse audience of students, professionals, and academics through the Baylor MIS department social media platforms.

For this feature, Kira Wetzel, a Data and Analytics lead for Facebook and the founder of the organization Girls + Data will be showcased

kira wetzel

At Facebook, Kira is a Data and Analytics Lead for Facebooks Artificial Reality and Virtual Reality. Kira also founded and serves as the Executive director of the organization Girls + Data.

For our Women in MIS feature, we asked Mrs. Wetzel a few general questions, then moved the focus on significant achievements in her life, asked questions concerning helpful advice for our students, and ended the interview with some lighting-round questions.


Enjoy!

General Questions

1. What company do you work at?

• Facebook ARVR

• Girls + Data

2. What is your job title?

• Data and Analytics Lead

• Executive director of Girls + Data

3. What is your area of responsibility?

• At Facebook, I work on a team of three analytics leads and we are working with our cross functional partners at Facebook ARVR to build, from the ground up, the data and analytics infrastructure to support highly actionable, sustainable analytics for all of ARVR operations.

4. What is your background / where did you earn your degree(s)?

• My background is interesting. I received my bachelor’s degree from Purdue University where I studied social psychology. I focused on research on relational aggression between female peers and helping behavior. After I graduated from Purdue, I went onto pursue a Master’s in Education and become a High School Math Educator. The first couple of years of teaching were very telling for me and upon a lot of self-reflection I was able to determine that I enjoyed teaching but wasn’t passionate about it. This is where it gets interesting, I bail on education and social sciences and go on to complete a Master of Science in “Information Technology Management” a.k.a. Management Information Systems from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. At some point in this program I started taking data science and business intelligence classes and fell in love with data and analytics. I’ve been in analytics for approximately the last 8 years in consulting and industry roles (Facebook. Apple, Kohl’s) and I can’t see myself leaving it anytime soon.

5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

• If I had known about MIS and careers in data and analytics during my undergrad I likely would not have taken the path that I did. I love what I’m doing now and when I’m not at work I’m volunteering my time as the Executive Director at girls + data, a 501(c)(3) that teaches middle school girls about careers in data because I’m passionate about providing options outside of computer science/robotics, to young women interested in STEM.

Interview Questions

1. Describe yourself in three sentences.

• I’m type-A and love to help others, solve problems, and learn new things.

2. What’s one of your proudest accomplishments?

• Changing careers until I found work that I love! I’ve heard from a lot of people that they like their work “enough” and they stay in their job because they’re established, but they’re not really happy. It took me awhile to get here, but I’m so glad I kept looking. I’m definitely not afraid to try new things.

3. Biggest challenge you face in the workplace? (right now, in the past, or both)

• In the past and present I didn’t/don’t know what I didn’t/don’t know. It makes it hard to identify blind spots/gaps in knowledge when they’re just that. Another challenge is that technology changes very quickly and so it’s important to learn the concepts, best practices, and business processes behind the technology and tools, but there’s a lot to learn.

4. What is the most important skill for a student to gain while seeking their degree?

• The ability to work with others and develop patience and fortitude for doing so. I never realized the importance of navigating the dynamics of group projects, but it’s wildly similar to the workplace.

• You can always learn the technology and tools, but it’s MORE important be able to influence people at work and find ways to manage situations and personalities that frustrate you or block your work.

5. What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone presently seeking a job in the MIS?

• Information Systems has a strong human element to it since you’re using data and information to change peoples’ lives, whether it’s a work process or the way they shop online, and you’ll have to be able to convince them that it’s for the better.

Lightning Round Questions

1. Dream job when you were a child?

• I can’t remember. I think I wanted to be a doctor.

2. What’s a deal-breaker when you interview someone?

• Poor communication skills, including non-verbal. In the interview I care less about the right answer and more about the way you can communicate with me. I want to feel like we could arrive at the right answer together if we were working on the same team.

3. Phone calls or texting?

• I love the phone because I think it’s more efficient and adds a depth to the communication that you don’t get through text. I find it easier to connect with the other person when you can hear their tone of voice, but I also appreciate that text messaging is very helpful when you need to reach someone else in a more private or less intrusive manner.

4. PC vs Mac / Windows vs macOS?

• Mac & MacOS.

5. Paper Books or E-books?

• Paper books

6. Ask permission or beg forgiveness?

• As long as nobody is getting hurt and the outcome is overall net good, then beg for forgiveness.

7. Who inspires you?

• (Skip, because I can’t narrow this and choose!)


A feature by Madeleine Tauber

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