Home' Technology Review : July August 2009 Contents Like most undergraduates, Irene Poh wasn't sure what she
wanted to be "when she grew up." One thing she did know,
however, was that she was a "quant at heart." Quantitative
subjects such as mathematics and statistics spoke to her. Poh felt
strongly that her career would draw upon her passion for analysis.
Today, at age 29, she is a senior business analyst for Procter and
Gamble, providing advisory and consulting services to P&G hair-
care marketing teams across North America.
"I work with the various business leaders to provide strategic
and tactical recommendations on how to solve some of their highest-
priority business problems," Poh explains.
Poh attributes her solid footing in both qualitative and
quantitative skills to her bachelor's degree in policy analysis and
management and her master's degree in research and industrial
engineering from Cornell University.
"Both degrees are about solving di cult programs and influencing decision makers and/or policy makers at critical moments,"
says Poh, who says her master's degree also helped her command a higher starting salary when P&G hired her straight out of school.
Three years intoher career,however, Poh decidedshe neededmore schooling, anda master'sdegree inbusiness administration
seemed to fit the bill.
"The business world is competitive, and education is an asset that nobody can ever take away from you," Poh says. "The University
of Chicago is a very analytical program, with strengths in finance and economics. These were areas that supplemented my work in
P&G's business analytics organization; I felt that I could benefit from the formal training in finance and business strategy."
Poh weighed these factors when exploring graduate schools:
Type of program
: Poh didn't want to go back to school full time, so she opted for a weekend MBA program.
School's reputation and areas of specialty
: Is the school recognized in your industry? Does it o er programs that are
relevant to your work?
Flexibility of the program
: Can you choose your courses, or is there a set curriculum?
: Poh commuted on Saturday mornings from Cincinnati to Chicago because the program o ered exactly
what she wanted. However, she admits there are disadvantages to attending a school outside your hometown. "Staying
local gives you the ability to build a strong local network of peers and professors," she says. "[When you commute], doing
projects and socializing becomes a lot harder during the rest of the week. If you end up traveling for school, find a carpool
or buddy to share travel costs and driving with." Poh adds that participating in a carpool allowed her and her peers to use
the commute time for group studying.
Job Title: Senior Business
Employer: Procter and
MBA, finance and strategy,
University of Chicago,
2008; MEng, operations
research and industrial
University, 2002; BS, policy
analysis and management,
Cornell University, 2001
Technology Review's Career Resources
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To learn more about Irene's decision to continue her education---and how it helped her move up the corporate ladder, go to
Program Directory Polytechnic Institute of NYU Executive Master's Programs
Based in New York City and Westchester, NY, Polytechnic Institute of NYU's fast-track executive
master's programs in Management of Technology and Information Management enable
professionals to move beyond pure technology and become e ective managers of innovation.
Participants gain knowledge that is increasingly valuable to firms and not easily outsourced. Join
us for an info session and get complete details at: http://www.mot-im.poly.edu
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