Wenhui Fang (B’19, MSBA’22) on the Value of Engaging With the Georgetown Network
As the spring semester comes to a close, Georgetown McDonough is pleased to commemorate the accomplishments of our recent graduates. Demonstrating immense resiliency, commitment, discipline, and determination to reach this milestone, we are proud to recognize these students’ achievements as they begin their journey as Hoya alumni. We’re spotlighting several exceptional students as they share personal stories, reflect on their time on the Hilltop, and how their time at Georgetown shaped their future aspirations.
Graduating this past December, Wenhui Fang (B’19, MSBA’22) has already embarked on his post-graduate career working at Georgetown in the university’s IT department, or University Information Services (UIS). The double Hoya said continuing his educational and professional journey at the university felt like a “homecoming” after returning to the team he previously worked with before pursuing a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) degree at McDonough. Today, in a new role, Fang is eager to apply what he learned as an MSBA student to his daily work responsibilities.
Here, Fang describes some of his proudest achievements at the university, the importance of building a strong support system and network, and some of his biggest takeaways from working on his capstone project with his MSBA classmates.
What is your favorite memory or proudest moment from your time at Georgetown?
I would say my proudest moment is when I received my second degree, a Master of Science in Business Analytics, and officially became a double Hoya. As a first-generation student who immigrated to the United States with very little English, this achievement means a lot to me. Despite the challenges, I graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2019 and then managed to complete the rigorous MSBA program while working in a full-time position at the university. Now, I can proudly joke to my Georgetown undergraduate classmates that I am more “Georgetown” than they are.
How do you plan to apply the skills you have learned at Georgetown in the next phase of your career?
As a business intelligence engineer in the university’s IT department, I am using the Python skills I learned from the MSBA programming courses to build data Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) pipelines. My goal is to continue honing my data analysis, as well as my engineering skills, to ultimately become a well-rounded data professional who can help organizations unlock the power of their data.
What is one of the most important lessons you have learned while at Georgetown?
I would say the most important lesson I have learned at Georgetown is the value of engaging with the larger Georgetown community. This includes our loyal alumni base around the world, world-class professors, and dedicated staff members. Over the years, I have built positive relationships with many of them, which have benefited me academically, professionally, and personally. I am convinced that being part of the Georgetown community is a privilege and there is no reason not to take advantage of our strong network.
What were some of the biggest takeaways from your capstone project?
One of the biggest takeaways from my capstone project is the importance of not being afraid to ask for help and share setbacks. Our project required my team to explore new concepts such as artificial intelligence (AI) bias and machine learning fairness, which none of us had been exposed to before. At one point, we found ourselves stuck and unable to progress.
However, by communicating with our capstone partners and faculty advisors in a timely and honest manner, we were able to access new resources and consider alternative approaches to overcome our challenges. In the end, we were able to build a high-performing machine learning model and draw solid conclusions. I believe that every capstone project team is likely to face challenges and it is essential to communicate with stakeholders as they are there to help you succeed.
Is there a particular person in the Georgetown community that has been instrumental to your success?
There are many people in the Georgetown community who have been influential in my journey. If I had to name one, I am particularly grateful for Professor Brooks Holtom, who has been a kind and caring mentor since I started my academic journey at Georgetown in 2016. Whenever I faced setbacks, Professor Holtom was always there to listen and provide support and taught me the value of resilience. He is a true role model, and I aspire to grow stronger professionally and become a person like him.
What are your post-graduate plans?
I graduated in December 2022, and my initial plan was to transition to a more senior position that would allow me to apply the skills I learned in the MSBA program. Fortunately, I was able to secure an internal opportunity at University Information Services (UIS) and became a principal business intelligence engineer in January 2023. Interestingly, I began my career at UIS as a financial analyst in 2019 but transitioned to a different role within the university before starting the MSBA program in August 2021. Returning to UIS now feels like a homecoming, and I’m grateful for the warm welcome I received from my former colleagues. While I have only been in my new position for four months, my goal is to absorb as much knowledge as possible to contribute to the team and university.
What advice would you give to future Georgetown MSBA students?
As most MSBA students are working professionals, my advice would be to apply what you learn in class to your day-to-day work as much as possible. This has two benefits: first, it allows you to practice and internalize technical skills, such as building a machine learning model or using Python for web scraping. Second, it enables you to solve real-world problems, which are often more complex than class assignments.
In addition, I would encourage future MSBA students to leverage the Georgetown network, starting with their peers. Building relationships with classmates can be beneficial not only in the future but it can also be a fun way to grow your career together.
Finally, my advice would be to stay curious and motivated and to never stop learning. The MSBA program provides an excellent foundation but it’s up to you to take the initiative and apply what you learn to achieve your goals.