HR Manager Stephen Daniel sat down with Cole Stauss, a University of Missouri student working toward his Masters of Accountancy at the Trulaske College of Business. Cole was one of two summer interns.
Why did you initially choose the Evolytics internship?
I initially chose the Evolytics internship for a couple reasons. I come from an accounting background so the idea of a small, non-corporate environment was completely foreign to me. I did my research on Evolytics and its accolades. The 2018 DAA Top Agency Award went a long way in proving to me that this company of 40 out of Kansas City was a very talented group, worthy of the big-name clients listed on its website.
I also chose Evolytics because I was really interested in what they are good at.Cole Stauss
I originally heard about the company when they put on a Tableau training at Mizzou. I have always been fascinated with Tableau and the field of data visualization, but I had few outlets to act on my interest in academia. I felt that any company with the aptitude to put on a training for Tableau was a great place to start, so reaching out to Evolytics made perfect sense.
Ultimately the decision to spend a summer at Evolytics over other opportunities I was offered came down to wanting to learn from really smart people. I knew I wanted to gain skills in Tableau, SQL, and Python; and I knew I wanted to take a step into the data analytics world.
Evolytics seemed to be, and later proved to be, a great place to learn those skills.
What is your experience with the culture at Evolytics?
The culture around Evolytics is very laid-back and growth-focused. It worked really well with the summer goals I had for the internship.
I wanted to learn as much as I could, and the company is really, really big on giving avenues for that. I can confidently say that I felt comfortable walking up to anyone in the office with a question about my work, or theirs, and knowing I would receive a well thought-out answer.
I really enjoyed the flexibility of the work around the office too.
There is a fully-stocked snack pantry and fridge that I probably used a little too often. I loved the dress policy — almost everyone wears a simple pair of jeans and a T-shirt around the office and it makes it a very comfortable work environment. Looking back on my first week, I can laugh at the fact I thought I actually needed to wear a pressed button down and nice slacks with my best dress shoes.
I have seen plenty of companies pitch their office culture at different recruiting events at school, and I know every one of them sounds the same. However, In my summer experience, Evolytics really does foster a comfortable working environment where people feel like they can play a round of pool at the pool table as work dies down on a Friday or actually take advantage of the deck area and conduct work outside when the weather is nice. Ultimately, everyone who wants to learn is given every opportunity to do so. The smart people and comfortable environment at Evolytics make that a reality.
What kind of work did you do during your time at Evolytics?
The first couple weeks consisted of a more rigorous formal education on what Evolytics defines as the “Data Lifecycle.”
The Data Lifecycle is the Evolytics approach to the analytics field. During training, each part of the lifecycle is defined in depth, and the programs used are explained. The training gives you the full understanding of the services offered by Evolytics, and it gives you a chance to find what areas you want to focus on for the internship.
After initial training, you get put on projects specific to your practice interests. I spent the majority of my time working on Tableau projects. These opportunities ranged from updating data connections, adding additional functions, and troubleshooting existing products to brainstorming and creating entire dashboards for clients based on their specific KPI needs. I spent a lot of time learning complex functions and working through different issues in Tableau.
I also spent time sitting down with coworkers and learning different elements of Python, SQL, and statistics. These weren’t overly formal meetings either. I simply found some time on different people’s schedules and sat down with them with a list of questions I accumulated. These teaching sessions ended up being among the most enjoyable learning experiences I had the whole summer.
On top of the technical work I did, I gained experience in how to manage client relationships. I worked with senior analysts to prepare reports and work with clients in meetings as well as learn how to properly handle the relationship that Evolytics has with its clients.
What was something you learned at Evolytics that you don’t think you would’ve learned in school?
The thought process that goes into the KPIs that are developed, the way they are reported and visualized, and the amount of thought that goes into the proper analysis is not something you can really experience in the context of school. That experience, combined with the real-world application of Tableau and programming languages is something that I could not have gained without the internship.
The ability to think critically about how to answer client questions with data is not something that you learn in school.Cole Stauss
What surprised you most about your Evolytics internship?
The most surprising part of the internship was just how much freedom I was given to shape the internship the way I wanted to. I was free to set up meetings with whomever, and to hop on projects I found interesting.
I knew I wanted to take advantage of the knowledge base at Evolytics from day one, and I was given the opportunity to hop in and do so.
What advice would you give a future Evolytics intern?
After your Data Lifecycle training, sit down and establish a couple goals for things you want to learn over the course of the internship. Choose a couple focus areas and make it clear you want to work on those. You are going to maximize your effectiveness in doing so, instead of just trying to learn everything.
Also, when you’re told “business casual” for the first day, it literally means you’re fine in a polo and jeans, and it’s awesome.