Carnegie Mellon University

Using Statistics to Define an Unconventional Career Path

July 30, 2018

Using Statistics to Define an Unconventional Career Path

By Stefanie Johndrow

Alex Arkhangelskaya (DC ’14) has always had a vision. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree from Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Department of Statistics & Data Science, Arkhangelskaya knew she wanted a career in the tech industry, and her degree has lead her to jobs with prominent retail companies.

In her first job, Arkhangelskaya worked for the home loan mortgage corporation Freddie Mac in a one-year IT development program. Arkhangelskaya’s experience at Freddie Mac took her to an operations product team at Wayfair, where she worked on high visibility projects and traveled around the world.

“While I was at Wayfair, I supported the transportation and supply chain,” Arkhangelskaya said. “I was the first resource supporting transportation for the European business. This was cool because it was all super new, and I got to establish brand new proxies and technology specific just for Wayfair Europe, which meant I got to travel to the Berlin and Ireland offices every quarter.”

After Wayfair, Arkhangelskaya returned home to New York City, where she now works as a technical product manager for Warby Parker, a popular retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses.

“At Warby Parker, I manage two teams of engineers, and my teams are responsible for building new digital products and features,” Arkhangelskaya said.

Some of the more notable projects Arkhangelskaya has helped implement for Warby Parker include their home try-on quiz on the website and app, incorporating push notifications and more.

Providing her with a foundation of everything from analytics to using big data and making data driven decisions, Arkhangelskaya’s time at CMU prepared her to take on these leading roles.

“Generally, CMU has prepared me to be able to problem solve,” Arkhangelskaya said. “That’s basically what I do on a daily basis as a product manager. I need to solve problems that may not have a super clear, straightforward answer. So while I’m not using statistical models in my day-to-day, the way I think about these problems is very similar.”

Lessons Arkhangelskaya learned while at CMU went beyond the classroom. She remembers Joel Greenhouse, professor of statistics and data science, and his humanity as an instrumental part of her college experience.

“Professor Greenhouse was always so calm, cool and collected, and he showed me that you can make a difference by caring and helping,” Arkhangelskaya said.

Arkhangelskaya’s career opportunities are an example of the versatility of a Dietrich College education.

“A degree from the Department of Statistics and Data Science provides students with evidence-based, analytic habits of mind that are essential for all kinds of real-world problem-solving. Regardless of their areas of study, students in the Dietrich College are given the foundations to pursue many different career paths,” said Brian Junker, professor of statistics and associate dean of academic affairs for Dietrich College.

Arkhangelskaya’s journey continues as she prepares to take on her next role at Rent the Runway.