Student Spotlight: Nicole Kuker (MSBA’22)

Nicole holding a microphone

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Hometown
Piscataway, New Jersey

Fun Fact
When I was 11, I won a Pi Day contest at school for memorizing pi to 75 decimal places. To this day, I can still rattle off the first 15 digits.

What is something we should know about you? 
I came to the MSBA program from a non-traditional background. My undergraduate degree is in genetics and my entire career has been spent working in theater. 

What is the closest thing to real magic?
Music. The right song at the right time is transformative.

Why did you choose Georgetown?

I chose Georgetown because of the curriculum that it offered, but what I’m most grateful for and did not realize how much I wanted, was the cohort learning model. Learning virtually can be isolating sometimes, and I did not understand how necessary it would be to have people to rely on and to make me feel like I’m not in it alone.

What opportunities of growth as a class representative have enhanced your MSBA experience?

I find value in being a class representative for this inaugural cohort because I know that my voice and the voices of my fellow representatives are truly being heard. We are the pioneers of this program and any feedback we can provide to improve our experience is important not only for us and our remaining time at McDonough, but for all future cohorts of the MSBA program. 

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class so far has been Machine Learning with Sudipta Dasmohapatra, academic director and professor of practice, MSBA Program. I love the problem solving aspect of it — trying to figure out how to make a model better. Despite the name, there’s an element of creativity in machine learning that I really enjoy.

Is there a particular person or moment that helped shape your experience into what it is today?

If the pandemic hadn’t occurred, I would not be part of this program. When quarantine began, my industry was decimated and even now, it’s only just beginning to rebound. If I hadn’t had that pause, that time away from work and time to reflect, I wouldn’t have realized how much I wanted a change. The pandemic accelerated that decision and led me to this program.

How is your experience in the inaugural MSBA cohort at McDonough preparing you for your postgraduate journey?

This program is a huge career pivot for me and I’m trying to learn as much as I can from my classmates. Through them and their experiences, I’m discovering all the different industries that utilize analytics and how best to leverage the skills I’m learning now.

What advice would you give to incoming cohorts?

Be patient with yourself. Learning a new skill can be hard at first, but just be patient and you will get it. Always ask for help when you need it.

Kuker and her husband learning to make homemade pasta in Rome, Italy.