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Alumni Series: How the M.S. in Applied Statistics Elevated This Quantitative Risk Manager’s Career

Posted on: 07/19/2021

master's of science in applied statisticsWe’re sharing the stories of some of our current students and alumni to highlight their experiences in the online Master of Science in Applied Statistics (ASTAT) program and how they are using the skills they’ve gained in their current roles, from banking to healthcare. Get a sense of what to expect from the program from people who have been there.

Wayne Thompson is a graduate of the online M.S. in Applied Statistics program. He is employed full-time at Bank of America as a director of global risk analytics, and has decades of experience in banking, risk management and model risk management. Thompson’s extensive risk modeling background includes financial engineering, model development, model risk management, quantitative model validation, credit risk analysis, market risk analysis and interest rate risk modeling.

Thompson is a Blue Hen alumnus, having previously earned his M.S. in Finance at UD. His positive experiences in the program led him to return to complete the M.S. in Applied Statistics. Below, Thompson describes his interactions with faculty and classmates, how the ASTAT curriculum has directly benefited him in his work with modeling and more.

What led you to pursue a master’s degree in applied statistics?
I’ve worked in the field of statistical modeling for several years, and I’ve successfully taken some graduate-level statistics courses in the past. However, I wanted to formalize the accreditation of my statistical background as it relates to my career. I found the M.S. in Applied Statistics to be supplemental towards my career progression, as the curriculum is directly related to my professional needs.

What has the online learning experience been like for you?
The experience has been very positive for me. The centralized platform is very intuitive. Everything relating to the online curriculum, including the communications that I’ve had with faculty members, has been smooth. Although I have not met any of my professors or course advisor in person, I have never experienced any gaps or delays in communication throughout the entire program.

How have your experiences been with faculty, staff and fellow students?
All of the faculty, staff and fellow students have been excellent communicators. The interactions that I have had with the faculty and staff contribute to why I highly recommend this program to my colleagues.

What has been the most impactful project or course you’ve completed in the M.S. in Applied Statistics?
The most useful course in the program was Logistic Regression. This is largely because logistic regression is one of the most widely-used model methodologies employed in my career field of credit risk management. The course provides the necessary framework for students to learn about a commonly used modeling technique in the financial industry.

How has the program helped you in your current role?
The program has helped me make more theoretical considerations in my current day-to-day role. Regression, probabilistic and multivariate models account for the vast majority of models that I work with, so I’m able to apply everything I’m learning in the program to my job.

How do you foresee the online M.S. in Applied Statistics benefitting you in the future?
This program has given me the necessary academic credentials to elevate my career. The education that I obtained from the M.S. in Applied Statistics is essential to my career progression in the field of quantitative risk management.

What knowledge and skills have you acquired in the program that you find especially valuable?
I have learned a lot more about experimental design and multivariate analysis. This is valuable education because developing proper data analysis skills is equally important as learning about various modeling techniques. Having a formal education in the design of experiments can be applied to virtually all types of modeling jobs. Another beneficial aspect of the program is that students have the opportunity to learn four different statistical programming languages (SAS, R, Python, JMP).

What would you like others to know about this program?
Whether your goal is to enter the workforce for the first time, make a career switch or add formal accreditation to a statistical background, this program may be for you. Students who need a statistics or math refresher can complete a course before beginning the M.S. in Applied Statistics. The program is flexible, and coursework can be completed whenever works best for your schedule. I have taken several online courses in the past at other institutions. But in my experience, compared to the others, this program is by far the most practical for someone who is full-time employed.

About the University of Delaware’s online M.S. in Applied Statistics

The University of Delaware offers a 100% online M.S. in Applied Statistics (ASTAT) for data professionals interested in earning an advanced degree without interrupting their careers.

University of Delaware’s ASTAT master’s program provides students with opportunities to develop and apply their skills to current, real-world problems. Distance learners benefit from close relationships the University of Delaware maintains with large, locally based companies in numerous sectors, including the financial services, healthcare, chemical, pharmaceutical, technology and farming industries.

Our statistics courses also offer hands-on experience with popular statistical software packages such as SAS, enabling students to develop advanced proficiency in skills they will need to evolve their careers.

Expert statisticians from these and other organizations were recruited to develop and instruct case-study based courses specifically for the online ASTAT. These full-time faculty members aptly prepare students for jobs with a median base salary of $80,000.

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