Austin Biehl, People Analytics Intern, Klaviyo
Austin Biehl (MIMS ’23) spent the summer of 2022 as a People Analytics Intern at Klaviyo, an eCommerce marketing automation platform.
(This interview was conducted in early August 2022)
Describe a typical day at your internship.
Since I work from home, a typical day is actually pretty leisurely! Currently, I’m working on a project that aims to identify potential sources of employee attrition. So I often spend a good amount of time cleaning and reformatting data (HR data is often extremely messy). In addition, I might spend some time running statistical tests to examine the data further, or meeting with my team to share these results. The company also hosts a lot of intern events where they bring in speakers or put together fun activities like cooking classes or yoga sessions.
What was the most valuable thing you learned at your internship?
Coming from a background in psychology and human resources, going into the internship I felt like I might not have the technical skills to be successful in an analytics role. However, I learned that the skills I’d gained over the past year of my master’s really had made me more knowledgeable than I’d thought. I think coming out of this I have more confidence to pursue technical roles.
What was the biggest challenge?
Trying to have influence in a very short amount of time. There were definitely some approaches to analytics that I disagreed with, but you don’t really have enough time to restructure a team’s approach to a problem. I found that it was challenging to convince people that a pivot table doesn’t really tell you anything about causality.
How did your work at the I School prepare you for this role?
I felt like particularly my classes in Information Visualization and Quantitative Research Methods helped me prepare for this internship. Beyond any of the technical skills, just being able to think critically about the origin of data, and the types of questions that can subsequently be answered, was very helpful.
Any advice for first-year MIMS students as they prepare for their internships?
Be intentional with your internship search timeline, but don’t panic. I remember a lot of people talking about doing interviews after barely being there a month, and it was super stressful. Give yourself time to learn some new skills and see where your interests take you. Also, be flexible throughout the search process. I often find that the process of looking for a job can actually help you figure out what you want to do!
Did your internship influence your career plans after graduation?
To an extent, yes. I realized that I want a role that is more research-driven, rather than reporting-driven. Additionally, I know that when I look for a new role I want to be sure that the people I work with are skilled in areas that I’m interested in becoming more skilled in myself. Finally, I realized that I’m not a person that thrives in a 100% remote work environment. So finding something where I can be physically present with the team will be a goal.