When Rob Galos ’15 applied for a corporate internship with Accenture, he was one of roughly 45 students interviewed, and among the 13 who were selected. Ultimately, he was the only one to be offered a full-time position with the global consulting firm.
Now working as a data science analyst at Accenture, the South Brunswick, New Jersey native was always drawn to the world of finance. And it was precisely this interest that led him to Stevens Institute of Technology.
"The reason I came to Stevens was for its quantitative finance program,” Galos reveals. “From day one I knew I wanted to do something with finance, math and statistics. But I ended up leaving the program because I wanted to broaden my education in the field of engineering."
So Galos decided to pursue both a bachelor’s in engineering management and a master’s in systems engineering through the Stevens 4 + 1 program, which allows students to earn an undergraduate and graduate degree in five years or less.
He says switching to an engineering management major was the right move for him because of the general problem solving knowledge he gained from his engineering studies. He also adds that the master’s program in systems engineering gave him the foundation to help him identify the big picture business perspective that comes with every project.
“Someone will come to me and say, ‘I want x, y and z,’ and I need to translate that into tasks. So I break it down to the steps I need to take, the actions I need to complete, and effectively go ahead and do it. Then I reevaluate my final product to make sure that it meets the initial stakeholder requirements,” he explains.
Galos completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies in just four years, graduating with both degrees in May.
Alongside his engineering management and systems engineering curricula, Galos credits the electives he took to obtain a financial services analytics (FSA) graduate certificate as invaluable to his career success.
“The FSA program is very unique in that it is geared towards industry. You start learning things on the first day of class that directly relate to the skills that industry expects you to have. For example, the financial systems design course was focused on development and Python on Unix platforms. And pretty much every analytics role requires someone with Python experience in the Unix environment. Without that class I would be completely lost right now. And I would really be suffering from a learning curve or would not have gotten the job to begin with.”
For his capstone senior project, Galos was required to apply his financial engineering studies to real world problems. He chose to do so through a corporate internship with Accenture. Thanks to a research and education collaboration between Stevens and Accenture to focus on analytics for the financial services industry, qualified Stevens students like Galos have the opportunity to participate in internships with Accenture.
Galos approached his internship as an audition for a permanent position, establishing professional connections with a number of senior employees at the firm and voicing his interest in working for the company after graduation.
“For my project I had to give a presentation to a few senior managers and directors at Accenture. They ended up taking a real interest in me and I expressed my interest in working for them.”
Galos attributes his hiring largely to his ability to communicate statistics and hard data in ways that are effective and engaging, which he says is crucial in data analytics.
“When I look at a dataset, I try to tell a story with that data. And that’s something that I learned from the graduate certificate program.”
Galos also observes that today’s careers in finance require much more than knowledge of financial products and markets. He says financial markets today operate within a highly-complex infrastructure that requires people who have a solid foundation in technology.
"Pretty much every industry needs a strong backbone in information technology. But now with high frequency trading platforms, the financial industry needs developers and people who are highly proficient in different technologies. In fact I think the industry is moving towards people who have a strong technology background, first and foremost, thinking they could learn the finance part of the job when they arrive."