Robbins, who is president of Elon's Los Angeles alumni chapter, talked with students during her visit to campus Oct. 23-24 about the career opportunities a statistics degree can present and offered insights into obtaining internships in the field.
More than numbers on a page or graphs to be deciphered, the study of statistics is the study of people, how they behave and why – and that study is becoming more and more valuable to businesses in every sector, Amy Good Robbins ’14 told students last week.
“Statistics are used in every single industry, and every single job you can expect to get,” Robbins said Wednesday to a Statistics 110 class. “Companies need people who can explain numbers and what they mean. Without that, companies are taking giant shots in the dark. They know the value of collecting information and making plans with it.”
Robbins, a consumer insights data analyst for Hulu, visited statistics classes on Oct. 23 and 24. She described her surprise at finding she enjoyed statistics and that the encouragement of professors led her on an unexpected career path. She double majored in statistics and history and minored in sociology.
That cross-disciplinary study helps her humanize data. She interprets statistical results but uses the humanities and social sciences to discern layers of meaning and effectively communicate them.
At Hulu, she’s part of a team that analyzes user habits. Which shows are being watched by which age groups or populations? Which shows are responsible for increasing subscriptions and adding brand value? Which kinds of advertisements work best, and on which channels and platforms?
Robbins helps answer those multi-million-dollar questions.
“Every single movie you watch, I guarantee they’ve done research” to target audiences and viewers, she said.
“I never imagined I’d work somewhere like Hulu. It’s definitely a dream job,” she said. “I work with really smart people. They do really great work. And it’s a young company, so you vibe well with your co-workers and you have similar values.”
Robbins is the president of the Los Angeles chapter of Elon alumni, and she helps organize events and especially support new graduates and California residents. She moved to L.A. after graduation and relied on the growing network of Elon alumni to find her footing in the metropolis and remain connected to Elon.
Robbins’ return to campus was arranged by the Mathematics and Statistics Department, said Department Chair and Mathematics Professor Crista Arangala. The department likes to invite alumni back to speak with undergraduates regularly, to show students the range of opportunities available to them after graduation.
While Robbins spent time in entry level courses encouraging students to keep an open mind about the field – she didn’t expect to enjoy statistics, she said – she coached juniors and seniors in the major about how to find internships and employment after graduation.
“When people ask, ‘What field could you go into with a degree in statistics?’ I say, ‘What field could you not go into?’” Robbins said. “Every company needs someone to solve problems. Every company needs answers.”